Integris Participates in Trial for Breast Cancer Prevention

Article excerpt

Integris Baptist Medical Center has participated in what health officials call a historic advance for breast cancer prevention.

Dr. Richard Klausner, the director of the National Cancer Institute, presented the results of the Breast Cancer Prevention Trial, which show a drug called tamoxifen is capable of reducing the risk of breast cancer 40 percent to 50 percent among women at high risk.

"This is the first imperfect, but very encouraging, step toward finding drugs" that prevent a number of different kinds of cancer, he said. Due to the highly significant results, investigators decided to release the initial study results about 14 months earlier than expected and to mail letters announcing the breakthrough to the 13,388 women in the United States and Canada who participated in the study. Sixty women were involved at Integris Baptist, the only Oklahoma City hospital to participate in the study. One of the study's participants, 44-year-old Fay Duvall of Oklahoma City, was considered at high risk for breast cancer after her identical twin sister developed it in 1991 and died in 1994. Duvall, who took part in the study from 1992-97, just received the letter about the research Saturday - finding out the pills she had taken were tamoxifen instead of a placebo. "I probably smiled all weekend," she said. Karl Boatman, a general surgeon who directed the local portion of the study, called it a major breakthrough. "This was probably the most significant revelation that's come out of any of our clinical trials to prevent cancer," said Boatman. "We are now in a position to give women an option. We can now intervene prior to the detection of breast cancer and really reduce a woman's chance of developing the disease," said Leslie Ford, the National Cancer Institute official overseeing the trial. Government officials acknowledged that the protection came with an increased risk of another type of cancer and of blood clots. But the research clearly showed, Klausner said, that the benefits for women at high risk in preventing breast cancer outweighed the risk of side effects from taking the drug. …