Monday, October 24, 2011

Breast cancer followup--ask your doctor?


Anahad O’Connor, NYT, Oct 24, 2011, reports on a decent-sounding study that suggests that letrozole (Femara) improves the odds of survival to a greater degree that the gold-standard followup medicine tamoxifen.

I am not a doctor, I do not play one on TV, but this may be worth talking to your doctor about.

Sixty percent of breast cancers are sensitive to estrogen or estrogen-receptor positive. This study in The Lancet Oncology, financed in part by the National Cancer Institute and yes—by the maker of letrozole—looked at 8,010 women

They followed these women for about eight years. After surgery, letrozole and tamoxifen were given some of the women alone for five years, or in sequence, first one, then the other.

The women who took letrozole five years after surgery had a 20% lower chance of recurrence and were 21% less likely to die over those who got tamoxifen alone. The combo did not lower the likelihood of recurrence or death over letrozole alone.

So…while each individual person is not a statistic—this might be worth asking about.

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