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Uptake of breast cancer preventive therapy in the UK: results from a multicentre prospective survey and qualitative interviews

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Author(s)

  • Julia Hackett
  • Rachel Thorneloe
  • Lucy Side
  • Michael Wolf
  • Rob Horne
  • Jack Cuzick
  • Samuel Smith

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Publication details

JournalBREAST CANCER RESEARCH AND TREATMENT
DateAccepted/In press - 30 Mar 2018
DateE-pub ahead of print - 24 Apr 2018
DatePublished (current) - 1 Aug 2018
Issue number3
Volume170
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)633-640
Early online date24/04/18
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Purpose: Uptake of preventive therapy for women at increased breast cancer risk in England is unknown following the introduction of UK clinical guidelines in 2013. Preventive therapy could create socioeconomic inequalities in cancer incidence if it is more readily accepted by particular socio-demographic groups. In this multicentre study, we investigated uptake of tamoxifen and evaluated socio-demographic and clinical factors associated with initiation. We explored women’s experiences of treatment decision-making using qualitative interview data.

Methods: Between September 2015 and December 2016, women (n=732) attending an appointment at one of 20 centres in England to discuss breast cancer risk were approached to complete a survey containing socio-demographic details and nulliparity. Of the baseline survey respondents (n=408/732, 55.7% response rate), self-reported uptake of tamoxifen at 3-month follow-up was reported in 258 (63.2%). Sixteen women participated in semi-structured interviews.

Results: One in seven (38/258=14.7%) women initiated tamoxifen. Women who had children were more likely to report use of tamoxifen than those without children (OR=5.26; 95%CI: 1.13–24.49, p=0.035). Interview data suggested that women weigh up risks and benefits of tamoxifen within the context of familial commitments, with exposure to significant other’s beliefs and experiences of cancer and medication a basis for their decision.

Conclusions: Uptake of tamoxifen is low in clinical practice. There were no socio-demographic differences in uptake, suggesting that the introduction of breast cancer preventive therapy is unlikely to create socioeconomic inequalities in cancer incidence. Women’s decision-making was influenced by familial priorities, particularly having children.

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© The Author(s) 2018

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