2 drugs may fight breast cancer
Older women at higher risk for breast cancer now have two good drug options for preventing the disease, but they will have to weigh the trade-offs, a major study shows.
Tamoxifen, the longtime gold standard, is more effective and longer lasting, the results show. But a newer drug — raloxifene, sold as Evista — is safer.
"I don't see a clear winner," but two good choices with different risks and benefits, said Dr. Scott Lippman, a cancer specialist at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. He is editor of Cancer Prevention Research, a journal that published long-term results from the federally funded study on Monday.
Tamoxifen is widely used to treat cancer once it's diagnosed, and Evista is used to treat osteoporosis. But the drugs have not found wide acceptance so far as cancer preventives. Doctors hope more high-risk women will consider taking one of the drugs.
They're not recommended for women at average risk of breast cancer. But for the millions who are at higher risk because of gene mutations, family history or other factors, they can make a dramatic difference.
Tamoxifen cut the chances of developing the most serious forms of breast cancer in half, the research shows, but with a higher risk of uterine cancer. Evista cut the cancer risk by 38 percent, with fewer uterine problems and other serious side effects.
Generic tamoxifen costs about 30 cents a day, versus up to $3 for Evista. The study compared them in nearly 20,000 postmenopausal women at higher risk of breast cancer. They took one drug or the other for about five years and then stopped.
Poll: Who's best global neighbor?
BBC World Service and the Yomiuri Shimbun polled 29,977 people in 28 countries to determine how nations are viewed. The poll asked how people viewed the global influence, either positive or negative, of 16 countries, plus the European Union. Here are some of the results:
Most positive responses
European Union 53%
United Kingdom 52%
Most negative responses
North Korea 48%
The United States
The U.S. was seventh in both positive responses (46%, up from 40% in 2008) and negative (34%).