U.K. and U.S. Encourage the Use of Breast Cancer Preventative Drugs

Taking a cue from the United States, the United Kingdom is now recommending the use of daily pills for breast cancer prevention.

Breast cancer prevention been in the spotlight, thanks to a famous face: Angelina Jolie. The actress recently revealed she underwent a double mastectomy to drop her cancers of cancer dramatically: From 87 percent to less than 5 percent. Now, new developments are being made so that such a drastic move is no longer the only option to decrease high risk of cancer. Following in the United States' footsteps, today in the United Kingdom, there is now another option, and one that's much less invasive: a daily pill.

This news comes just two months after the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued a similar recommendation to American doctors. Britain's National Institute of Health and Care Excellence advised the nation's National Health Service to offer drugs tamoxifen or raloxifene for a period of five years for women over 35 with a family history of the disease, putting them at moderate to high risk for developing breast cancer. This differs from the U.S. edict, which only applies to women aged 40 to 70.

In both the U.S. and the U.K., the drugs are only being offered to women with a high risk of developing cancer — women who qualify as low risk are not eligible. The preventative use of drugs such as tamoxifen and raloxifene has been heavily debated, but with the U.S. and the U.K backing the drugs as preventative measures, it seems likely that more will follow in their support.

Diana Pearl
Diana Pearl

Diana is a producer at ELLE.com. She previously wrote for MarieClaire.com. Diana is a Syracuse grad and a Chicago native, and therefore a pro at dealing with cold weather. She's also an Anglophile, which means she love all things British—especially Downton Abbey, London, and Will and Kate (and Prince George!)