Cancer drug isn't as good as advertised
On the surface, it must seem like a miracle pill: Cancer drugs that can slash the risk of breast cancer in women with the highest risk of the disease by nearly 40 percent.
New research confirms that estrogen-blocking cancer drugs such as tamoxifen really do deliver in that regard -- and the study is already being used to push these meds on millions of new patients, including "high-risk" but otherwise healthy women with no sign of the disease at all.
But don't swallow that pill just yet -- because there's more to this story.
While the headlines are focusing on that one finding -- the lower risk of cancer -- the study in The Lancet also finds that the breast cancer drugs have no impact at all on the disease's survival rates.
In other words, they haven't saved a single life despite that drop in cancer risk.
How could that be? Simple: The breast cancer drugs are likely preventing only the harmless tumors that are usually best left alone with a "watch and wait" approach.
Now, I understand why some women might know all that and choose to take the drug anyway. No one wants the stress and angst of a cancer diagnosis, even if the disease itself is survivable.
But the breast cancer drugs come with risks of their own, starting with the fact that they could actually increase the risk of other cancers -- including cancer of the uterus. The potential risk is so great that the American Cancer Society lists tamoxifen as a known carcinogen.
In addition, there's evidence the drug may increase the risk of blood clots and stroke.
And since the drugs work by blocking estrogen, you also could face all the risks that come with shrinking hormone levels -- including night sweats, hot flashes, skin conditions, and more.
There are better and safer ways to slash your risk of cancer without upsetting your hormone balance, and I've told you about a few of them recently.
Start by adding some natural detoxifiers to your menu, especially cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, and kale. As I explained last year, these natural cancer-fighters can decrease the risk of dying of breast cancer by more than a third.
In addition, the carotenoids found in some cruciferous vegetables as well as carrots and other veggies can reduce your risk of breast cancer by as much as 20 percent, according to Harvard University research.
These vegetables don't come with any risks, only benefits and great taste.
I'm not done with breast cancer yet -- keep reading for a risk factor many women may not be aware of.