One-fifth breast cancer patients fail to complete prescribed therapy

Around 20% of breast cancer patients do not complete prescribed endocrine therapy, researchers reported at the ESMO Asia 2016 Congress in Singapore.

The study in over 5,500 women found that younger patients and those who had taken hormone replacement therapy (HRT) were less likely to adhere to their medicine.

Tamoxifen, or the ‘adjuvant endocrine treatment’ prevents recurrence of cancer by 5-10%, especially when taken long term (5-10 years), but a substantial amount of patients do not complete their treatment.

It has also been speculated that discontinuation of medication may lead to worse survival. More research is required to link any biological reasons or side effects that women face due to HRT treatment.

However, personalised approaches may improve adherence in these patients by, for example, tailoring the dosage, according to research associate and lead author Dr Wahyu Wulaningsih.

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