A breast cancer pill called Tamoxifen can reduce the risk of disease. However, General Practitioners were found to be unaware of national guidelines of recommending it to women. Women, thought to be at high risk of having breast cancer because of family history, are supposed to be prescribed with Tamoxifen.
In a survey of 900 General Practitioners, only half know about Tamoxifen. That it could reduce the risk of women having breast cancer. A quarter knew about the guidelines of recommending Tamoxifen for those at high risk. And three-quarters are willing to prescribe it to women at high risk. However, Tamoxifen is not licensed as a breast cancer preventive drug. But General Practitioners are allowed to prescribe an unlicensed drug if upon their examination would be beneficial for the patient. However, they are reluctant to do so.
General Practitioners are concerned that they might be held liable for criticism if the patient experienced side effects. According to the Telegraph, a small survey reported that 500,000 are being denied of this breast cancer pill. However, there is no proof it is true.
The aim of the study was to ask General Practitioners who among them are unaware of the breast cancer pill. And in fact, the 500,000 women at highest risk are the ones that may benefit from taking breast cancer pill, not denied of the pill. The pill is not licensed for preventative use, this is why the General Practitioners are reluctant to prescribe it. And in a study of 42 women taking Tamoxifen over a ten-year time frame, only one breast cancer would be prevented.
According to the NHS, the researchers also found that General Practitioners are more likely comfortable to prescribe medication initiated by the hospital doctors rather prescribing on their own decision. If women are concerned with their breast cancer family history they could probably consult their General Practitioner. And since breast cancer pills are not usually prescribed there are other ways to prevent breast cancer like regular exercise, proper diet and keeping a healthy weight.