According to statistics released Tuesday (5-7) by the National Cancer Institute, U.S. breast cancer death rates dropped again in 1993 to 25.9 percent from 27.5 percent in 1989. In the prevention of breast cancer, early findings from a British study indicate that women with an increased risk of breast cancer might benefit from the anti-estrogen drug tamoxifen or the vitamin A derivative 4-HPR. The National Cancer Institute is also reconsidering its position on mammograms for women under the age of 50, and plans to convene a panel to review an unpublished Swedish study that finds a 24 decrease in the breast cancer death rate among women who started getting mammograms in the their 40s. In 1993, the NCI had said there was not enough evidence to justify women getting regular screenings before age 50, reversing an earlier position that women over 40 should have the procedure done every two years.
California Rep. Vic Fazio has introduced legislation to permit the sale of a 33-cent stamp, from which the extra penny would be earmarked to go toward breast cancer research, stating the measure could raise close to $200 million a year. In June, the postal service will issue a regular 32-cent stamp commemorating breast cancer awareness.