Why UK women refuse breast cancer chemoprevention

  • Clin Breast Cancer

  • curated by Dawn O'Shea
  • UK Medical News
Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals. Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals.

Only 1 in 5 women at increased risk for breast cancer see a strong need for tamoxifen preventive therapy, new research suggests.

In a cohort of women attending an appointment to discuss breast cancer risk, more than 70% had strong worries about the long-term effects of tamoxifen and more than half reported concerns about potential side effects.

Among the 258 women in the final analysis, uptake of tamoxifen at 3 months was 14.7%, even though 19.4% believed their current health depended on them taking tamoxifen and 18.2% believed they would become very ill without it.

A significant proportion of women reported concerns about the nature of medicines and how they are used by doctors. This included the belief that doctors use too many medicines (28.9%) and would prescribe fewer medicines if they had more time with patients (35.3%). Some also reported heightened sensitivity to the effects of medication, with 22.8% reported that they had experienced reactions to medicines in the past.

In a subgroup of women reporting low perceived need for tamoxifen and stronger medication concerns, a significant proportion believed doctors use too many medicines (59.1%) and place too much trust in medicines (34.4%). These women were more likely to believe that medicines are poisons (13.6%), addictive (29.9%) and that people who take medicines should stop for a while every now and again (44.8%).

The authors suggest that this group might benefit from additional support that focuses on eliciting and addressing unresolved medication concerns.

Please confirm your acceptance

To gain full access to GPnotebook please confirm:

By submitting here you confirm that you have accepted Terms of Use and Privacy Policy of GPnotebook.