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SIDE EFFECTS

ANCHOR LEAD:   ONE STANDARD MEDICATION FOR REDUCING BREAST  CANCER RISK ALSO HAS SUBSTANTIAL SIDE EFFECTS, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

Is the reduction in risk of breast cancer worth the side effects of tamoxifen use?  The US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports that tamoxifen and its cousins raloxifene and tibolone may cause side effects ranging from flushing and night sweats to endometrial cancer, but may be worth it in terms of their ability to prevent breast cancer.  Here’s what Ben Park, a breast cancer expert at Johns Hopkins, has to say.  

PARK:  What we tell women is that tamoxifen is still a very good option and if they have too many side effects from aromatase inhibitors then tamoxifen is still a very, very good drug.  The difference in superiority of aromatase over tamoxifen is statistically significant but its not huge, and so I’m comfortable with using tamoxifen in postmenopausal women but I think again most physicians are moving toward the fact that the data are bearing out that aromatase inhibitors really are going to be superior and probably even with the side effect profile.         :30

So talk with your doctor about the best medication for you.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.


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