Cancer drug offers a new lease of life

Oxford Mail: Sylvia Chisnall was diagnosed with cancer almost 15 years ago – today she is fighting fit Sylvia Chisnall was diagnosed with cancer almost 15 years ago – today she is fighting fit

A DRUG routinely given to women battling breast cancer boosts chances of surviving the disease for at least 10 years, an Oxford study has found.

Last night, a mother-of-three who started taking the drug 15 years ago said it had given her precious extra years.

Trials involving more than 20,000 women with breast cancer showed that an early course of tamoxifen reduced the risk of dying by a third over a 15-year period.

Tamoxifen is usually given for five years following surgery, and only works against breast cancers that are fuelled by the female sex hormone oestrogen, or ER-positive cancer.

Breast cancer is known to return after several years absence but according to the test by Oxford University scientists, tamoxifen can prevent this happening.

Dr Christina Davies, a member of the international research team from the university, said: “This study shows tamoxifen produces really long-term protection.

“For ER-positive disease, tamoxifen reduces 15-year breast cancer mortality by at least a third, whether or not chemotherapy is given.”

About three-quarters of breast cancers are hormone-sensitive. Each year, around 46,000 women in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 12,000 die from the disease. About 400 people are diagnosed in Oxfordshire alone.

The trials were carried out by the Early Breast Cancer Trialists Collaborative Group. It studied data from 20 trials around the world.

In all the trials, patients had their long-term progress monitored. Tamoxifen substantially reduced breast cancer death rates well beyond 10 years.

Sylvia Chisnall, from Carterton, was diagnosed with cancer when she was 44.

After undergoing surgery at the Churchill Hospital, she was prescribed a course of tamoxifen.

She said the drug might not work for everyone, but had given her precious extra years to spend with her family.

Mrs Chisnall, now 58, said: “I was told it could have side effects, such as weight gain and nausea, but to be perfectly honest I was fine. You take it because you hope it might prolong your life and allow you to do things you want to do. It has given me a lot more years. And I have done things that I wanted to do, such as own horses again.

“Life is short. If you have been given extra time, make the most of it.”

Dr Caitlin Palframan, policy manager at the charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said she was pleased to see such impressive results involving tamoxifen.

She added: “While it’s not suitable for every patient, we are delighted that tamoxifen continues to make such a significant contribution to treating breast cancer.

“We are continuing to strive for breakthroughs in new treatments, so that women have even more options available.”

Comments (6)

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10:46am Mon 8 Aug 11

Your_Kidding says...

Except now that it has been highlighted NICE will probably class it as too expensive for everyone.
Except now that it has been highlighted NICE will probably class it as too expensive for everyone. Your_Kidding
  • Score: 0

9:45pm Mon 8 Aug 11

Tinak958 says...

That was what I thought when I read it hope not as I am taking tamoxifen
That was what I thought when I read it hope not as I am taking tamoxifen Tinak958
  • Score: 0

2:25am Tue 9 Aug 11

SarahOX14 says...

No need to worry, tamoxifen is very cheap. A 30 day supply of 20mg tablets costs the NHS just £2.09.
No need to worry, tamoxifen is very cheap. A 30 day supply of 20mg tablets costs the NHS just £2.09. SarahOX14
  • Score: 0

2:25am Tue 9 Aug 11

SarahOX14 says...

No need to worry, tamoxifen is very cheap. A 30 day supply of 20mg tablets costs the NHS just £2.09.
No need to worry, tamoxifen is very cheap. A 30 day supply of 20mg tablets costs the NHS just £2.09. SarahOX14
  • Score: 0

2:36am Tue 9 Aug 11

criminalsthelotofem says...

please join our facebook group and support direct action to aid the police with stopping this violence spreading across our land please search on facebook for - Citizens on Patrol: Day of action against the rioters, do your duty as a citizen it is vital we act now and send a strong message we will not put up with this!
please join our facebook group and support direct action to aid the police with stopping this violence spreading across our land please search on facebook for - Citizens on Patrol: Day of action against the rioters, do your duty as a citizen it is vital we act now and send a strong message we will not put up with this! criminalsthelotofem
  • Score: 0

9:52am Tue 9 Aug 11

Your_Kidding says...

criminalsthelotofem wrote:
please join our facebook group and support direct action to aid the police with stopping this violence spreading across our land please search on facebook for - Citizens on Patrol: Day of action against the rioters, do your duty as a citizen it is vital we act now and send a strong message we will not put up with this!
Not that this has anything to do with this story but yes we will put up with it as we always do from mindless thugs. Anyone caught and prosecuted can expect what, community service that's a great deterrent.
[quote][p][bold]criminalsthelotofem[/bold] wrote: please join our facebook group and support direct action to aid the police with stopping this violence spreading across our land please search on facebook for - Citizens on Patrol: Day of action against the rioters, do your duty as a citizen it is vital we act now and send a strong message we will not put up with this![/p][/quote]Not that this has anything to do with this story but yes we will put up with it as we always do from mindless thugs. Anyone caught and prosecuted can expect what, community service that's a great deterrent. Your_Kidding
  • Score: 0

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