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Five Is Magic Number for Preventing Breast Cancer Recurrence

For more about tamoxifen and breast cancer, check out WebMD's Breast Cancer chat board moderated by Randy Gross, RN. continued...

In addition to the NSABP data, another large study from Scotland also found five years of postsurgical tamoxifen therapy to be optimal in most breast cancer patients. But the questions surrounding duration of therapy may not be resolved until two large British trials are reported a decade from now.

"It really does boil down to opinion at this point, but the totality of the evidence that we have available to date argues against more than five years of tamoxifen therapy," says Bryant, who is director of the NCI's NSABP Biostatistical Center. "In 10 years we may have conclusive answers, but by then we are likely to have better agents that are like tamoxifen, but don't have the side effects."

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