The Associated Press
Millions of women at higher-than-usual risk of breast cancer have a new option for preventing the disease. Pfizer Inc.’s Aromasin cut the risk of developing breast cancer by more than half, without the side effects that have curbed enthusiasm for other prevention drugs, a major study found.
It was the first test in healthy women of newer hormone- blocking pills called aromatase inhibitors, sold as Arimidex, Femara and Aromasin, and in generic form. They’re used now to prevent recurrences in breast cancer patients who are past menopause, and doctors have long suspected they may help prevent initial cases, too.
Prevention drugs aren’t advised for women at average risk of breast cancer. Those at higher risk because of gene mutations or other reasons already have two choices for prevention — tamoxifen and raloxifene. But these drugs are unpopular because they carry small risks of uterine cancer, blood clots and other problems.
“ Here’s a third breast cancer prevention drug that may in fact be safer,” said Dr. Allen Lichter, chief executive of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.