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Drugs to cut risk of cancer on offer

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: June 26, 2013

  • treatment Tamoxifen tablets for breast cancer patients.

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IT is a life-changing moment you wish no one would have to go through, being diagnosed with breast cancer.

But now thousands of women with a history of breast cancer in their family across the UK are set to be offered drugs on the NHS to help prevent the condition for the first time.

New guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) means 500,000 women will now have a choice other than a mastectomy.

According to NICE, tamoxifen or raloxifene taken daily for five years can cut the breast cancer risk by 40 percent.

Trimsaran mother Amanda Lloyd, 43, was diagnosed with the disease in May and has undergone an operation to remove an inch and a half of tissue from her breast.

She was full of praise for the treatment and care she has received on the NHS and at Prince Philip Hospital in Llanelli and welcomed the new move for those with cancer in their families.

"In other places I expect you would have to pay for the treatment, so for this to be available through the NHS is wonderful really," she said.

"I would find out the pros and cons and what side affects there would be but it could be amazing.

"For people not to have to have a mastectomy, it would be a really big thing for them.

"Prince Philip have been absolutely brilliant.

"It has been like having an extended family.

"You are given your own personal nurse and you can contact them if you have any concerns or worries.

"You would never believe you are at a hospital when you are there, it is like a hotel room."

Hollywood star Angelina Jolie made headlines around the world last month when she revealed she had undergone a preventative double mastectomy.

The move will make England and Wales the first countries in Europe to offer breast cancer drugs to healthy women.

Breast nurse specialist Susan Heard, a member of the NICE guidelines development group, told the BBC: "Tamoxifen is not an expensive drug - to give a woman five years of tamoxifen would only cost about £130 — it can cost £12,000 to treat a woman for breast cancer in a year.

"Tamoxifen has been used for 40 years in the treatment of breast cancer very successfully to stop it coming back and I think the healthcare professionals are very familiar with the drug and that experience can be passed on to our patients."

Around 50,000 women and 400 men develop breast cancer in the UK each year.

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