Six in seven women with a family history of breast cancer opt out of taking tamoxifen as a preventative measure, according to a study funded by Cancer Research UK and published in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment today (Tuesday)*.
Researchers asked 258 healthy women across England who had been identified as having an increased risk of the disease whether they had agreed to take the drug to help prevent breast cancer developing, and interviewed 16 women to identify what influenced their decision to take it.
Women chose not to start taking the drug because they thought cancer was down to fate, they distrusted medication in general or they feared side effects would interfere with looking after their family.
But overall the team, based at the University of Leeds, Northwestern University, University College London and Queen Mary University of London, found women with children were more likely to take up the offer of tamoxifen.
The research, which is the first of its kind since the drug was approved to be used for prevention, also suggested that social class, educational attainment and ethnicity had no effect on uptake.
Tamoxifen is most commonly given to women who have been treated for breast
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