New option for early breast cancer

Added On December 20, 2015

There are new options in treating breast cancer.

A research led by Queen Mary University of London has found that the medicine anastrozole is effective in treating an early form of breast cancer. 
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The research results led by Queen Mary University of London have shown that anastrozole, a non-steroidal aromatase-inhibiting drug, is as effective as a similar medicine, tamoxifen, for this type of breast cancer.
Scientists say the drug could offer a new treatment option for post-menopausal women.
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is described as a very early form of breast cancer, where cancer cells are present in milk ducts, but have not spread to the surrounding breast tissue. 
It is estimated that approximately a fifth of all screen-detected breast cancers are DCIS, with around 4,800 people diagnosed with DCIS in the UK each year. 
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) PROF. JACK CUZICK, Head of QMUL's Centre for Cancer Prevention
"So we feel that the drugs have similar efficacy, anastrozole may be a little bit better, but the most important thing is this offers a new option for women, so if they can't tolerate one of these drugs, the other one is almost as effective. So it's primarily a choice between two drugs. We would suggest that you start with anastrozole, because it's a little bit better, if you have problems with tolerability, or if there're reasons for not taking it, like if you do have low bone density, you might want to start with tamoxifen, but in either case you start with, there's always an option to switch to the other one."
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK today, while scientists continue to learn more about how to prevent and treat it through research, the major challenges are more down to the individual patients.
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) PROF. JACK CUZICK, Head of QMUL's Centre for Cancer Prevention
"I think breast cancer as a challenging disease, the treatments are much better now. And screening is detecting cancer much earlier, so many patients do extremely well. The big challenge is to find the right treatment for individual patients, learning more to tailor the treatment to the individual tumour, some treatments will be better for certain tumours, and some for others, and determining which one individual patient should get is the major challenge right now."
But researchers also warned that it's still too early to assess the effect of these treatments on mortality, and long-term follow-up and further research is planned to study these issues. 
With more to know along the way, they hope it will offer women more options.