This is the first time drugs have ever been recommended for reducing breast cancer risk in the UK.
Chris Askew, Chief Executive of Breakthrough Breast Cancer
Charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer has said that new guidelines issues by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence are “an historic step”.
NICE has said that more than 500,000 women in England and Wales judged to be at risk from breast cancer should be offered drugs by the NHS for the first time to stop it developing.
Chris Askew, Chief Executive of Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said:
“This is the first time drugs have ever been recommended for reducing breast cancer risk in the UK.
“This is exciting as, even though most women do not have a significant family history of the disease, it's crucial that those who do have an array of options to help them control their risk.
“An update to this guideline is long overdue and we're especially pleased it has been extended to include both women who have had breast cancer, and men, for the first time.
“Once finalised, this guideline will pose new challenges for the NHS as it will need to deliver on its recommendations, including a potentially large increase in genetic testing.
“Breakthrough Breast Cancer will strive to ensure the final recommendations are implemented swiftly. We urge women with concerns about their family history of breast cancer to speak to their doctor.”
A Department of Health spokeswoman said:
"We want women identified as being at high risk of breast and ovarian cancers to be given high-quality services based on their individual needs. This draft guidance will help healthcare professionals support the needs of their patients and we encourage organisations or individuals with an interest to give their feedback."