A pill that cuts the risk of breast cancer could soon be offered to around half a million women on the NHS.

Research was carried out over a period of five years to see if specific drugs – most notably Tamoxifen – had any impact on the incidence of breast cancer. The findings, which were published in a study today, revealed that taking a daily pill reduced the incidence of the cancer by nearly 40%. This means that one breast cancer case would be prevented in every 42 women who took the drug.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) must now decide whether the drug can be prescribed to NHS patients in the same way statins are prescribed to prevent the risk of heart disease and stroke. It is hoped NICE will stand by their guidance issued in January which recommended the 500,000 women at risk of developing the condition should have access to a breast cancer pill.

However, there are a number of factors that could influence the verdict.  The drugs are unbranded generic medicines meaning the cost to the health service would be relatively low. This is obviously a plus, while more money would be saved because fewer women would require treatment. But on the downside, there are potentially harmful side-effects including an increased risk of blood clots and endometrial cancers. A decision is expected this summer.

Dr Lester Barr, chairman of the Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention Society and a breast cancer surgeon himself, said: “The discovery of a proven preventative drug for women with a high risk of contracting breast cancer is set to prolong and even save thousands of women’s lives.

“The results of the study will revolutionise the medical approach to preventative medicine in the field of breast cancer. Further still, the fact that it should be made available on the NHS this summer will enable many more people to receive life-saving help. The effects of this drug could result in women with a pre-disposed risk of contracting breast cancer never having to suffer from the disease.”

Legal advice for cancer negligence

Although the possibility of a breast cancer pill is great news, it is still the most common type of cancer in the UK and many women find their prognosis for recovery is diminished by a delay in diagnosis.

If this is something that has happened to you, you need to speak to a solicitor about the care you have received as you could be the innocent victim of medical negligence. To find out more, contact us at Glynns Solicitors today.

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