After Cancer: A drug to prevent recurrence

A drug to prevent recurrence

Of the 120,000 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed annually in the U.S., as many as 90,000 occur in women who are postmenopausal or over 50. In roughly half of these older women, the malignant cells have spread to nearby lymph nodes; some 30% die of recurring cancer within five years after surgery. That grim toll may soon be reduced. A National Institutes of Health advisory panel last week recommended the postsurgery use of a drug called tamoxifen in most of these cases, saying that it could cut the death rate by 20%.

Tamoxifen's effectiveness stems from the fact that the...

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