Researchers say they can add a new option to the table for women who want to lower their risk of breast cancer.
A pill called anastrozole.
A study released on Thursday shows that the pill, which is available generically, lowered the risk of breast cancer by 53 percent in women at high risk of the disease.
That’s a little bit better than the other drugs now being used to prevent breast cancer, such as tamoxifen.
In the study, nearly 4 thousand high-risk, post menopausal women who took the pill for 5 years, were half as likely to develop breast cancer than women on a placebo.
While this included invasive tumors, there was no difference in overall mortality rates.
Experts say this is an important addition to medications women already have for preventing cancer, and may be more effective than tamoxifen, with fewer side effects.
“Some of the side effects that were seen with anastrozole in this trial were largely musculoskeletal problems and hot flashes, however these were really quite rare.”
In the study, which was partially paid for by drug makers, anastrozole cut the incidence of breast cancers from four to two percent over five years.
It works by preventing the body from making estrogen, the fuel for many breast cancers.
Breast cancer is one of the biggest cancer killers of women in the U.S. second to lung cancer.