A pill that helps prevent breast cancer has been approved in England, and will mark a moment of hope for nearly 300,000 women.
Anastrozole - which has been used for years to treat the disease - was first recommended as a preventative option by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in 2017, and it is set to be offered to thousands across the country.
Trials had shown that the pill could reduce the incidence of breast cancer by nearly 50 percent in post-menopausal women who might be at risk of the disease.
In a statement, NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard highlighted the important step.
She said: “This is the first drug to be repurposed though a world-leading new programme to help us realise the full potential of existing medicines in new uses to save and improve more lives.”
Anastrozole will be offered to 289,000 post-menopausal women in England who are considered to have at least a moderate risk of being diagnosed with the disease, as part of the NHS England’s medicines-repurposing programme.
The announcement has been praised, with some women describing it as a “gift”.
Lesley-Ann Woodhams, 61, has completed a five-year course of one tablet a day, and told the BBC taking the drug was “an easy decision”, because she had watched her mother “battle” the disease.
She explained: "I could live a life without constantly worrying or giving a thought to what could be if I'd developed breast cancer.
"It really was a gift - it gave my family and myself peace of mind and, more importantly, a continued future to look forward to."