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Breast cancer patients skip medication

Over half of women undergoing breast cancer treatment admit to not taking their medication properly, according to new research.

Of the 131 women questioned by a Cancer Research UK team, 72 said they had omitted to take their medication at times, 12 of whom said that they had intentionally skipped their medication on occasion.

Due to be published in next month's European Journal of Cancer, the study found that the main reasons for missing medication were difficulties with swallowing the tablets, finding the medication a constant reminder of their illness, and a desire to escape the side effects of the tablets, including hot flushes.

"It is important that women are as well informed as possible about both the benefits and side effects of their medication and so know what to expect," commented Professor John Toy, medical director at Cancer Research UK.

"Clear communication can help to ensure that doctors are better informed about how women are dealing with their treatment so as to help reduce any negative impact that treatments might have," he said.

Breast cancer treatment usually involves a combination of surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, followed by a daily hormone tablet or injection for up to five years

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