A preventative medicine which could reduce the risk of developing breast cancer has been subsidised by the federal government’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), giving more Australian women access.
Tamoxifen, or Novaldex-D, is the first preventive treatment for breast cancer to be listed on the PBS.
“It can reduce your chances of breast cancer by 30 to 40 percent… it’s pretty amazing,” health minister Sussan Ley said during an announcement yesterday. She said that the system had now been broadened to include women who were also at a moderate to high risk of getting breast cancer.
Previously, only women who were actually suffering from a certain type of breast cancer could access subsidies for the medication.
“The drug Tamoxifen will be available on the PBS from today and it’s part of a risk reduction strategy in a really important area of cancer,” Ms Ley said.
“The pharmaceutical company that’s developed Tamoxifen has provided additional evidence, additional research to make it available to women who don’t have breast cancer but are at high risk of contracting it.”
The Government said evidence from the makers of the drug had shown that if you take Tamoxifen for five years, it substantially reduces your risk by as much as 30-40 per cent, even after you stop taking it in a preventative way.
Ms Ley said the drug was the first preventative breast cancer treatment to be listed on the PBS, amid expectations that more than 16,000 new cases of breast cancer would be diagnosed this year.
“This month is breast cancer awareness month, so I’m making sure we get the message out about screening and treatment,” Minister Ley said.