Drug Can Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer, Researchers Say

According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine and reported in the New York Times, a drug currently used to stop breast cancer from reoccurring could actually prevent the disease from developing in the first place.  Other drugs have, in the past, been used to ward off breast cancer, but they are infrequently prescribed because of their serious side effects. 

This drug, exemestane (also known by the brand name Aromasin), does not have these drawbacks.  It stops the production of estrogen, which causes tumors to grow, and in the large randomized study of 4,500 post-menopausal women who were considered to be at higher risk of breast cancer, the risk of breast cancer was reduced by 65 percent.

The question is whether the drug will catch on.  Although the side effects are not as devastating as those that accompany other drugs, exemestane causes bone pain and joint pain that might make healthy women unwilling to take it.  There are also concerns about whether insurance companies will cover the drug, even though a generic version could be available soon.

One of the other unknowns is whether the drug lengthens women’s lives.  This, the researchers say, they do not have enough information to speculate about, much less draw definitive conclusions.  It may slow the progression of ovarian cancer, but it’s hard to tell whether women would actually live longer if they took the drug.

For now, it’s encouraging to have more potential options for combating breast cancer, and even preventing it before it develops.  But as with most drugs, exemestane is no panacea, and there are many factors that will influence its efficacy and success.

 

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

33 comments

Anja N.
Justin R.4 years ago

...wonder on how many mice the product has been tested...

Lika S.
Lika S.4 years ago

First off, I'd rather have quality of life than quantity.

So, if I were disposed to getting breast cancer, and this was going to put me in pain, I wouldn't take it.

I already have enough pain as it is. If I have to take on more, I'd rather die.

This really sounds like a catch 22. Do you want to risk breast cancer, or be in pain to the core?

Alex H.
Alex H.4 years ago

Here we go again!Drug companies putting "carrots"out there in order to glean more hard earned donations from a gullible,emotional public!Avoiding breast cancer is not that hard;it has nothing to do with genes (that's just a whole new field of wild goose chase research designed to keep people employed for another 'x'years!)but a lot to do with lifestyle.Get your vitamin D from sunning,eat plenty of organic fruit and vegetables,don't smoke or drink excessive alcohol,try not to be stressed,don't have irradiating mammagrams,don't wear a tight bra more than 12 hours a day or sleep in one,(this blocks lymph drainage of accumulated toxins in the breast tissue)and watch that oestrogen/testosterone balance-this especially applies to men."Man boobs"are a sign of excess oestrogen and yes.men can get breast cancer!

Eric Lees
Eric Lees4 years ago

Drug companies make their money from slowing down the cancer and prolonging life not by curing cancer.
I believe most cancers can be prevented or cured by nutrition and exercise.

lee e.
lee e.4 years ago

My wife died of breast cancer - and the QOL of my life was destroyed by prostate cancer - I'm concerned about my daughter - so perhaps advances will be made for her - not likely - but perhaps, meanwhile this doesn't sound all that great a deal - long term effects? Early menopause? Pain? I would rather have never treated my cancer - and mine is the "easy" one!

Shannon G.
Shannon G.4 years ago

Hillary, I do not believe that cancer can be cured by what you eat. However, I do believe that what you put in your body is what causes cancer that includes food.

Linda L.
Linda L.4 years ago

Sad thing here is.. What if you had Triple Negative Breast Cancer? And the brutal different Chemos, Radiation and all left you disabled! You have so much muscle & Pain damages from that $6,000. Neulasta Shot? You Can't walk or use your hands! You can no longer Trust your body! And going straight into Chemo/Menopause on top of all of the side effects is Horrible. This neuropathic pains. Those hot flashes are like someone prickling you with hundreds of knitting needles. You're in pain from head to toe. nonstop! And your doctor's point fingers.. I didn't do this! Call this Dr. I think its from this and this is from that! Meanwhile you suffer in silence and have NO Quality of Life! Who wouldn't want to be me!? When you lose every single hair on your body and look and feel like walking Dead isn't Easy! Then you question. What did I do! I'm a Good honest, random acts of kindness person. I never smoked, drank or did anything knowingly harmful to my body. I took good care of myself. Didn't even go out in the Sun! But have more radiation in my that I glow! I have NO income at all! And my husband lost his job & our insurance over 2 year ago. Try doing this Jobless, poor and Down on your luck without any Help! Believe me Agencies don't Care to Help! I'm on NO pain meds. at all.. Where's the help care and all? I Hope for the day for Prevention! Does anyone want prevention!? If not that A Cure for all 200 Cancers!!

Marcia Machado
Marcia Machado4 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Parvez Z.
Parvez Zuberi4 years ago

Noted thanks

Aimee O.
Aimee Osmulski4 years ago

With all of the knowledge today, we don't have a cure for cancer? Sorry, don't believe it, 2 much of a $$ maker..