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Prevention: New Breast Cancer Treatment Drug

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A new study shows a drug to prevent breast cancer in those types of patients is not only more effective than current treatments, it also comes with far less serious side effects.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A new study shows a drug to prevent breast cancer in those types of patients is not only more effective than current treatments, it also comes with far less serious side effects. Susan Talbert does not have breast cancer, but she is at high risk of getting the disease.

"I went for my screening mammogram last January and I had three areas of calcification which they classified as suspicious."

Her doctor recommended she take a drug called anastrozole, brand name arimidex. New research in the lancet shows it could help women like Susan by eliminating their estrogen production.

"The more estrogen you have in your body the more you can develop estrogen-related breast cancer", says Dr. Alison Estabrook of St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital.

Researchers followed nearly 4,000 high risk, post-menopausal women for 9 years, they found patients who received the anti-hormone therapy lowered their chances of getting breast cancer by 53 percent.

"This is a very big finding because we used to put women on tamoxifen but that could lead to endometrial or uterine cancer," Estabrook adds.

Susan had been taking a drug similar to tamoxifen called raloxifene. But researchers say anastrozole is more effective and has fewer and less serious side effects, the past options haven't been bad but this option is better.

Side effects for anastrozole include joint pain and bone loss, women are considered to be high risk if they have a strong family history.

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