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December 10th, 2009
Women at a High Risk of Breast Cancer Still Wary of Tamoxifen

Only 6% of American women who are at high risk of breast cancer are willing to take the prescription drug tamoxifen because of worries about side effects, a surprising new study reveals.

In order to promote usage of the drug and a better understanding of risks, researchers at the University Of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center made a decision aid, made with the health history of 632 women participating in the study.

“That means, when women read this decision aid, they learned about how the drug was likely to affect them given their age, race, breast cancer history and medical history,” said study author Angela Fagerlin, an associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School and a research investigator at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System in a university news release.

Researchers asked questions to the women about the risks and benefits of tamoxifen. Out of six questions, 63% correctly answered at least five and 41% answered all six questions with the right answer.

While these women seemed to have a firm grasp of understanding regarding the drug, only 29% said they would pursue any research on the drug, another 29% said that they would talk to a doctor about it and only 6% said they would actually take tamoxifen.

The major aversion to the medication came from the side effects, which include hot flashes, sexual problems and, in very rare cases, blood clots, cataracts or endometrial cancer.

Experts often lament about the lack of women taking the canadian prescription drugs, many think that word has not spread about the ability of breast cancer prevention. However, this study has revealed that women are aware about tamoxifen, they are just too worried about the pill’s side effects.

The study can be found in an upcoming Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.

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