A 61-year-old woman who watched her own mother battle breast cancer has hailed the ‘gift’ of a drug which halves the risk of getting the disease.
Up to 300,000 women will now be offered the 4p-a-day pill anastrozole under NHS plans to dish out the drugs in a similar fashion to statins.
What is Anastrozole?
Anastrozole is already used to treat women struck by the illness but trials have found the hormone therapy can drastically slash the chance of developing breast cancer in the first place.
Experts today labelled the NHS strategy as a ‘major step forward’ in the fight against the disease, while the health service’s own boss claimed it represented a ‘new era for cancer prevention’.
Lesley-Ann Woodhams, 61, from Flixton, Greater Manchester, who completed the full five-year course of anastrozole in January, said taking it was an ‘easy decision’.
What Anastrozole does
She said: ‘Taking anastrozole was an easy decision for me, as I’d watched my mum battle breast cancer and my risk was very high.
‘Anastrozole reduced my risk of developing breast cancer, meaning I could live a life without constantly worrying or giving a thought to what could be if I’d developed breast cancer.
‘It really was a gift, it gave my family and myself peace of mind and more importantly, a continued future to look forward to.
‘I’m grateful for every day I took this drug – it was life-changing. Anastrozole has allowed me to continue living my life as I’d planned.’
Officials estimate that if a quarter of eligible women in England take up the offer, it could prevent 2,000 cases and save the NHS £15million in treatment costs.
Around 56,800 women and men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, making it the most common cancer in the UK.
It has been estimated that by 2040 there will be 70,300 breast cancer diagnoses each year, because of a growing and ageing population.