INDIANAPOLIS - There are brand new guidelines with a stronger recommendation for women at a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
The updated guidelines from the American Society of Clinical Oncology include a stronger language and add a medicine that could prevent women at a higher risk from getting breast cancer.
The guidelines now suggest three medicines should be discussed with those patients.
Depending on the woman’s age, either Tamoxifen, Raloxifene or Exemestane should be taken orally for five years.
In a recent clinical study, women who took part in the so called ‘chemoprevention therapy’ were 70 percent less likely to develop breast cancer.
Although the treatment is labeled as chemoprevention, doctors said side effects are nothing like traditional chemotherapy.
“These medicines are not necessarily chemotherapy medicines. They primarily work by reducing the level of estrogen,” said Dr. Niraj Gupta, an oncologist at St. Vincent Cancer Care Center.
Gupta said the side effects are minimal, yet very few at-risk women take the prescriptions.
He said he hoped the new guidelines would change that.
“Because I think being empowered and being able to be in charge of your own health definitely helps a lot. And so if the ladies have this piece of information, so when the ladies go to see their family doctors or their primary care doctors or their gynecologists, they should start this discussion,” Gupta said.
More than 40,000 women will die of breast cancer this year.