With breast cancer diagnosis becoming more common, it is scary to think that you might be next, especially if you have family history of the disease.
Thanks to science, a new finding from research on a known breast cancer drug could help prevent breast cancer in post- menopausal women who are at higher risk of developing it.
Dr. Mazen Khattab from Arizona Oncology shared a lot of important information on the drug.
“There is clear evidence that it works for primary prevention, which means preventing cancer before it happens,” said Dr. Khattab.
Some of the candidates for this drug would be women who have strong family history of breast cancer or have certain pathological finding in their breast or mammogram results.
Dr. Khattab uses this drug with his patients, and while he believes it can be successful, he also believes the patients that are candidates for the drug have to be selected carefully. “We use it all the time, for the active treatment of cancer,” he said. Like any other drug, anastrozole has certain side effects that need to be monitored and addressed. Some of its biggest side effects are hot flashes and bone related issues such as joint pain.
This is another option to add to the other breast cancer prevention drugs that have already been used to prevent breast cancer in women at higher risk. For the mean time, he encourages screening, especially if you have family history of breast cancer. Bring it up with your primary care physician.
“This is not a drug that a primary care physician can prescribe, this is a drug that can be prescribed by a medical oncologist who knows the data,” said Dr. Khattab.
He also made it very clear that this drug is not an alternative to surgery for BRCA1 and BRCA2 patients.
Dr. Khattab wanted to convey a strong message of hope to all women. “Cancer is not what it used to be. The treatment is not what it used to be. We have a lot of options for treatment, and people do a lot better now than they used to before,” said Dr. Khattab.
Originally from Damascus, Syria, Dr. Khattab is a member of the American College of Physicians and is a member of the American Society of Hematology, and American Society of Clinical Oncology. In 2003, he won the Intern of the Year Award, in 2005; he won the Patient Care Award and received the NEOUCOM Certificate of Appreciation. Dr. Khattab served as Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine at North Eastern Ohio Universities, College of Medicine, Rootstown, OH between March 2006 until June 2010. Outside of practicing medicine, Dr. Khattab enjoys playing soccer and travelling.