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Osteoporosis drug may protect against breast cancer

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A drug used to treat osteoporosis in post-menopausal women can also prevent a certain type of breast cancer, say US researchers.

An analysis of data from the RUTH trial – the world’s largest study of women and heart disease involving over 10,000 post-menopausal women – found that women who took the drug raloxifene significantly reduced their risk of developing oestrogen-receptor (ER) positive breast cancer.

Although the RUTH trial found that raloxifene did not protect against heart disease, it reduced the risk of developing ER positive breast cancer by 50% for at least eight years, researchers said online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Lead author Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, from the division of epidemiology at the San Diego School of Medicine, said: ‘This research gives older women facing certain medical decisions another option.

‘If a woman at risk for osteoporosis is considering taking medication, and has no history of blood clots or stroke, raloxifene might be a more appealing option due to its protective role in invasive breast cancer,’ she said.

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