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Study questions tamoxifen's link to uterine cancer

Tamoxifen pills

Finding may ease worries of women with breast cancer risk

April 30, 1998
Web posted at: 8:15 p.m. EDT (0015 GMT)

ATLANTA (CNN) -- In news that could be important for women with a high risk of getting breast cancer, a new study finds that the drug tamoxifen may not increase the risk of uterine cancer in most women, as some previous studies have indicated.

Tamoxifen has been shown to reduce the chance of developing breast cancer for healthy women at high risk for the disease, due to age or a family history of breast cancer.

But since those findings were released earlier this month, many women have been wrestling with the decision of whether to take tamoxifen, because of other studies showing it could increase their risk of uterine cancer.

However, a new study published in the journal "Cancer" shows that tamoxifen doesn't appear to increase uterine cancer risk in women who have never taken hormones. Researchers found that the risk was the same whether a woman had been on tamoxifen for as long as 13 years or not at all.

"The risk of [uterine] cancer in these women may be related to their prior estrogen use and not necessarily to tamoxifen," said Dr. Toncred Styblo of Emory University in Atlanta.

Styblo says more studies are needed to learn more about the effects of tamoxifen and other similar drugs that may inhibit breast cancer.

Medical Correspondent Rhonda Rowland contributed to this report.


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