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Tuesday, 7 April, 1998, 03:42 GMT 04:42 UK
Breakthrough in cancer prevention

The agency which oversees cancer research in the United States, the National Cancer Institute, says studies suggest healthy women can dramatically reduce their chance of contracting breast cancer, by taking a drug -- tamoxifen -- at present used to treat the disease.

Trials with more than thirteen thousand women indicated those taking tamoxifen cut their chances of developing breast cancer by almost half.

The institute hailed the findings as a historic milestone in the fight against the disease.

However critics have raised concerns that tamoxifen may be linked to blood clots and uterine cancer.

And some experts warn it's still too early to say exactly who will benefit from taking it.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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