Using Femara to Prevent Breast Cancer Recurrence

Beyond 215,000 women are clinically determined to have breast cancer every year. For most of them, surgery to cut out the tumor is only the initial step in the battle against the disease, usually followed by radiation or chemotherapy. Besides, they might have to consider whether to take the adjuvant treatment or not to effectively get rid of the recurrence of breast cancer. You might wish to know more about Cancer Research in Malaysia and Things to Know Before Breast Cancer Treatment too.

Whenever a woman’s breast cancer does come back or spreads to other areas of the body, she can be at greater risk of dying from the disease. Women whose breast cancer is identified in the nearby lymph nodes at medical diagnosis and people who acquire chemotherapy after surgery are considered to be at greater risk for breast cancer recurrence.

Postmenopausal women whose early-stage breast cancer is hormone-sensitive have a new option as their first hormone therapy right after surgery. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently recognized Femara (letrozole tablets) on December 28, 2005 for this form of use. This approval was based on a median of two years of treatment. The research is still ongoing to discover the long-term safety and effectiveness of Femara. Already a leading breast cancer treatment, Femara is now the only medicine in a group called aromatase inhibitors that is recognized to be used both right after surgical procedure and after 5 years of tamoxifen. The FDA awarded Femara a high priority evaluation, a distinction reserved for medications that might perhaps offer a substantial advancement compared to products currently on the market.

A panel from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the nation’s leading group of oncologists, suggests aromatase inhibitors, like Femara, be part of the optimal adjuvant treatment for this group of women.

“One of the greatest fears confronted by women who are medicated for early breast cancer is that their cancer will come back. With Femara, we certainly have a choice that will help address that fear early on, even in patients who we know encounter the highest risk of recurrence,” said Matthew Ellis, MD, PhD, FRCP, director of the Breast Cancer Program at Washington University in St. Louis.

In a large clinical study of post-surgery breast cancer treatment, researchers compared the effectiveness of Femara and tamoxifen, some other drug prescribed after surgery. An analysis performed after 26 months showed that Femara decreased the risk of breast cancer coming back by 21% over the reduction offered by tamoxifen. Patients taking Femara also showed a 27 % reduction in the risk of the cancer spreading to distant areas of the body.

In this study, women at elevated risk of recurrence experienced the greatest benefit from Femara. Femara lowered this risk by twenty nine % in females whose breast cancer had already metastasize to the lymph nodes at the time of diagnosis and by 30 % in women who had prior chemotherapy. The final results also indicated that in these high-risk women, Femara lowered the potential risk of cancer spreading to distant parts of the body by 33 % and 31 %, respectively.

In this study, Femara has been often well tolerated with the most typical side effects as well as hot flashes, joint pain, night sweats, weight gain and nausea.

So, we hope that Femara would be the option for all of us to prevent the breast cancer recurrence. The secondary cancer is far more threatening compared to the primary cancer.

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