Great news for those at risk of breast cancer

A preventative medicine which could reduce the risk of developing breast cancer has been subsidised by the federal government’s Pharmaceutical

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.

Do you know anyone who will benefit from this news? Have you or a loved one been affected by cancer?

  1. Kim Wormald  

    I had breast cancer treatment last year (Left masectomy, chemotherapy) and now have to take Tamoxifen daily. Not complaining but just want to let you know that this is not a dream treatment, that women would necessarily take “just in case”. There are some significant side effects, since it blocks the hormone Estrogen. The most inconvenient one is severe hot flushes several times each day and night, which continue as long as you take the tablets.

    • Maureen Donnellon  

      I joined a Tamoxifon programme in 1995 after surgery for a breast lump caused by a small patch of calcification. It was one of those “draw a ball from the jar type of schemes which involved either radiation, tamoxifen chemo or nothing. I won the Tamoxifen tablet and as it was a pilot program it wasnt expensive. I was warned about hot flushes etc and that I would cease having periods. I was about 47 but continued to have periods, though quite a bit lighter, but no flushes. After nearly five years, the length of the project, I had an unusual pap smear so the project was stopped immediately as that wasn’t one of the side effects Iwas told about however it was on the list I found out then. I was told that hot flushes would begin and end of periods. Had about three flushes, but took promensil, which I was told later, was not as good idea after Tamoxifen. Periods petered out after about a year but I really didn’t have too many bad side effects although I am sure the Promensil stopped the flushes. Wonder where I stand now with Tamoxifen. Can I still take it? Have continued to have annual mammograms and ultrasounds which OI cannot have through the Breastscreen van as after any surgery , a person is not eligible and no one knows how long that time period should be as there is nothing written down. I have checked half a dozen times in the last ten years. Still in the too hard basket I think

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