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NICE consults on breast cancer drug prevention

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Women with a strong family history of breast cancer could be offered drugs by the NHS as a prevention strategy.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence is currently in the process of updating its clinical guideline on familial breast cancer.

It began a consultation today on a draft version of the guideline with new, provisional recommendations relating to genetic testing, screening and the use of preventive treatments.

This includes for the first time the use of tamoxifen or raloxifene as treatments to prevent breast cancer.

Chris Askew, chief executive of Breakthrough Breast Cancer, described the draft guidance as an “historic step for the prevention of breast cancer”.

“It is the first time drugs have ever been recommended for reducing breast cancer risk in the UK,” he said. 

“This is exciting as, even though most women do not have a significant family history of the disease, it’s crucial that those who do have an array of options to help them control their risk.”

Stakeholders have until Monday 25 February 2013 to submit comments to the NICE consultation.

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