Preventative Breast Cancer Drug Therapy: A Viable Option?

Preventative care.  We all know that eating a healthy dose of antioxidants, exercising, limiting our alcohol use, and staying away from tobacco products will help prevent cancer.  But, have we ever thought about taking medicine to prevent breast cancer?

Just last week, an article referring to a cancer study coming out of the United Kingdom looked at preventative breast cancer drug therapy.  Drugs, such as Tamoxifen, prescribed to high-risk patients prior to any breast cancer diagnosis could potentially reduce their risk by fifty percent.

Looking into this study further, 1 in 6 women accepted these added preventative measures.  That means 5 out of 6 women opted not to take the drug for one reason or another.  Could it be due to the list of unwanted side-effects?  Maybe their age was a factor?  How about their belief that getting cancer wouldn’t happen to them?  They could have been in their childbearing years and didn’t want to contend with fertility issues.


I recently had the opportunity to discuss this study with a fellow writer.  As a young breast cancer survivor, I had my own take on the study and was able to offer her some insight.

With my family history, being put into the high-risk category didn’t faze me.  I always knew that if I was to be diagnosed with breast cancer, I would have caught it by early detection.  That’s why I started my annual mammograms at the age of twenty-nine.  However, I was never offered the option of preventative drug therapy.  Were other women offered that option in the United States?  I don’t know.

I was asked if I would have taken the drug as preventative measures.  I had mixed feelings.  It’s really hard to look back when I know what I already know.  I have a love-hate relationship with Tamoxifen as it is.  I’m not a huge fan of the minimal side-effects that I have, nor do I enjoy taking a daily dose of the drug.  I’m not happy that my medicine has not allowed us to extend our family further.  If the drug is actually working the way it’s supposed to work, then I will gladly take that daily dose so I can continue to be here to mother my beautiful daughter.  That’s always been my goal, to be here for her.

If you had the option of taking preventative drug therapy, would you?

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