TORONTO (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Statistics say one in eight women will
be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Chances are, you or someone
you love has already been handed the diagnosis. New treatments for breast
cancer get a lot of press and, while that's always good news, researchers
are testing a new drug that doesn't treat breast cancer, but could prevent
Beth Reipas is no stranger to cancer. Six of her closest family members have
"I would sort of embrace any option that's out there to help increase my
odds of preventing getting it," Reipas says.
Because breast cancer is especially prevalent in her family, Reipas joined a
study on a new drug to prevent breast cancer in postmenopausal women.
"It works by lowering the amount of estrogen in a woman's body," says Andrea
Eisen, M.D., a medical oncologist at Odette Cancer Centre, part of the
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto.
Dr. Eisen says the drug, called exemestane (Aromasin), lowers estrogen
levels by more than 95-percent.
"Higher levels of estrogen have been linked to increased incidence of breast
cancer," Dr. Eisen says.
The drug blocks a protein needed for estrogen production called aromatase.
"Some healthy people aren't interested in taking a pill every day, but those
who are, are highly motivated. They often have an experience of breast
cancer in their family and don't want to be in that situation," Dr. Eisen
An earlier study in women who had already had breast cancer showed taking
exemestane cut the risk of cancer in the other breast by 46-percent.
"One tiny little pill a day. You hardly notice any difference," Reipas says.
She is optimistic about the research.
"I hope that this one is the new best thing. You have to go into this
believing that this is going to be the drug that changes everything for so
many women," Reipas says.
She knows the drug doesn't guarantee she won't get breast cancer, but she
says she'll do anything to lower the odds.
The international study is open only to postmenopausal women and is still
enrolling patients. As with all drugs, some women might experience side
effects. Those side effects include hot flashes, joint pain and
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Sunnybrook Research Institute
(416) 480-6100 ext. 2253