Adherence With Oral Meds-An Issue In Breast Cancer “Drugs don’t work in patients who don’t take them.”
In the battle against breast cancer, patients are increasingly prescribed oral medications, such as hormonal therapy, to limit the risk of disease recurrence. Research has indicated that patients should stay on these drugs for five years to gain maximum benefits.
But recently, the healthcare community has started to ask a question once limited to managing common colds, not cancer: Do breast cancer patients take their medications as prescribed?
According to the American Cancer Society, more than 200,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed every year in the U.S. Of those, approximately 100,000 have cancer types that are likely to respond to hormonal therapy. Taking the therapy as prescribed for the full five years can reduce their risk of recurrence.
Easier Said than Done
Based on findings from a recent symposium on medication adherence among breast cancer patients, candidates for hormonal therapy-some 500,000 women in the U.S.-may not be reaping the full benefits of their drug regimens. According to some research studies, non-compliance rates have reached as high as 40 percent.