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Almost 20 Percent of Breast Cancer Patients Fail to Complete Prescribed Endocrine Therapy

Around 20% of breast cancer patients do not complete prescribed endocrine therapy, researchers report at the ESMO Asia 2016 Congress in Singapore. The study of over 5,500 women found that younger patients and those who had taken hormone replacement therapy (HRT) were less likely to adhere to their medicine.

"Adjuvant endocrine treatment such as tamoxifen prevents recurrence and improves absolute survival by 5-10% in patients with estrogen receptor (ER) positive breast cancer, especially when taken long term (5-10 years)," said lead author Dr. Wahyu Wulaningsih, research associate, MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing at University College London, UK and co-founder of Philippine and Indonesian Scholars (PILAR) Research and Education.

"A substantial proportion of patients who start this treatment do not complete it," continued Wulaningsih. "There is evidence that failure to take the medicine could lead to worse survival. We therefore investigated the reasons for non-adherence so that targeted strategies could be developed."

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