12/04/2002 - News

Older women missing out on tamoxifen

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD

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The latest research shows how older women are not always prescribed tamoxifen for breast cancer.

It's well known that tamoxifen should be given following surgery to women with breast cancer, to improve their chances of survival. But new research shows that women over 85 are less likely to be offered the drug - possibly because doctors fear the side effects would outweigh the benefits.

The study covers 92 women aged between 80 and 92 with the kind of breast cancer likely to respond to tamoxifen. Women over 79 years account for 13 per cent of new breast cancer diagnoses, but for a disproportionate 27 per cent of breast cancer deaths.

They found that women aged between 85 and 92 years were about 25 per cent less likely to get tamoxifen than women aged between 80 and 84. This apparent age discrimination is not justified by the medical fact, say the researchers.

Source

Cancer 15th December 2002/on-line edition 3rd December

Created on: 12/04/2002
Reviewed on: 12/04/2002

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