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Discuss cancer-reducing meds with at-risk women: panel

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Doctors should talk with women who are at higher-than-average risk of breast cancer about medications that would reduce that risk so they can make informed decisions, a government-backed panel said today.

Those drugs, tamoxifen and raloxifene, block the effects of estrogen in breast tissue. But they can come with side effects such as hot flashes and increase women's risk of blood clots.

The statement from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, follows draft guidelines that were released for public comment in April. See Reuters Health coverage here: http://reut.rs/XCXeAp

In response to the comments received, the panel clarified in the final guidelines that the recommendations apply to symptom-free women age 35 and over who have not had breast cancer.

The panel also said only a small fraction of women are candidates for risk-reducing medications.

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/bN9DEh Annals of Internal Medicine, online September 23, 2013.

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