`Game changer` pill could help prevent breast cancer

Last Updated: Jun 25, 2013, 11:18 AM IST

Washington: A pill could help prevent breast cancer in half a million women who are at high risk of getting the dreaded disease.

Doctors were given the go-ahead to prescribe the drug in a move hailed by experts as a "game changer".

Women with a family history of the illness will get the drug, costing less than 7 pence a day, after new guidance by the NHS medicines watchdog, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, the Daily Express reported.

Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive of Breast Cancer Campaign, said that this is a truly historic moment in the treatment of women at increased risk of breast cancer.

The drug, either in the form of tamoxifen or raloxifene, could help more than 488,000 women in England and Wales dramatically slash their risk of breast cancer.

It would be taken in much the same way that daily cholesterol-busting statins are taken by millions of people to stave off heart attacks and stroke.

Nice updated its guidelines on tamoxifen and raloxifene for particular groups of women and men after a string of scientific studies showed the drugs can stop people getting breast cancer if taken for five years.

The treatment will be offered to women aged 35 and over deemed to have a high risk (more than 30 percent) or moderate risk (17 to 30 percent) of contracting the illness.