The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside has urged Nigerians especially women to ensure frequent Breast Cancer screening stressing that early detection will make a lot of difference in tackling the scourge.
Patients in the study all received endocrine therapy - such as tamoxifen which is the standard of care to cut the risk of cancer recurrence - for five years and were free of cancer when they stopped therapy.
The team now wants to understand whether there is a subset of women with ER-positive breast cancer that has a low enough risk so that extended endocrine treatment would not be needed.
"As we look at extending endocrine therapy for 10 years, we wanted to determine whether there were certain subgroups of women whose risk of recurrence was so low they might not need to continue endocrine therapy after five years", Hayes said.
But their progress was monitored for years afterwards and it was found that more than 11,000 of them had their cancer return in a distant site, such as in bone, liver or lung, up to 15 years later.
These women had a 40 per cent risk of a distant cancer recurrence over the next 15 years.
The study, which "quantifies the 20-year risk more reliably than previous studies", shows that, even after five years of adjuvant endocrine therapy with tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitors, women with oestrogen-receptor-positive (ER+) early-stage breast cancer have a persistent risk of recurrence and death later on.
BREAST cancer can return 20 years after a woman is given the all-clear, a study reveals.
Specifically, larger cancers and those that affected four or more lymph nodes carried the greatest long-term risks.
Statistics show that out of every eight women, one is likely to develop invasive breast cancer at some point in her lifetime. He hopes that these results will motivate women who are experiencing side-effects while on this treatment to persevere with it.
Even once the cancer has gone, these drugs are taken daily for 5 years.
The findings raise questions about the current practice of treating women with tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitors for five years after the tumor is removed, in order to reduce the risk of a recurrence.
Professor Arnie Purushotham, Cancer Research UK's senior clinical adviser, also pointed out that "since this research began, new drugs are being used to treat breast cancer that are better at preventing recurrence than those given to most women in this study".
'It's vital that work continues to better predict which cancers might return.
But there are side effects with hormone treatments which can affect patients' quality of life and cause them to stop taking the pills.
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