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Tamoxifen: Breast Cancer

Tamoxifen: Breast CancerQUESTION. Whether to take tamoxifen and undergo chemotherapy is among the decisions made by women with breast cancer. The benefits of these treatments outweigh the risks – in particular, the possibility of a stroke?

This study compared the use of tamoxifen and chemotherapy in 179 women who had a stroke after they were diagnosed with breast cancer and in 353 survivors of breast cancer of the same age who did not have a stroke. Researchers found no association between tamoxifen and stroke. They found that undergoing chemotherapy more than doubled the chance of a stroke.

Who can these findings affect? Women with breast cancer.

WARNINGS: The results do not necessarily apply to women who take tamoxifen as a prophylactic. Another recent study [Quick Study, October 16] showed that tamoxifen use was correlated with a slight increase in stroke risk.

BOTTOM LINE Women diagnosed with breast cancer may want to discuss with their doctors the benefits and risks of tamoxifen and chemotherapy depending on their individual situations.

FIND THIS STUDY October 20 issue of the journal of the National Cancer Institute; The abstract is available online at www.jncicancerspectrum.oupjournals.org.

LEARN MORE about breast cancer treatment at www.cancer.org и www.cancer.gov.

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