The likelihood that a woman will take pills to keep her breast cancer from coming back is higher if she tended to consistently take medications as directed in the past, a new study found.
A major problem in medicine in general is when people don't take their medication as prescribed, said lead author Dr. Alfred Neugut, of Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.
"It's kind of well known, but not generally spoken about," he told Reuters Health.
The problem, known as nonadherence, also extends to cancer medicines, even though they are generally viewed as life-saving or life-prolonging, he and his colleagues write in JAMA Oncology.
They add that 30 to 50 percent of women in previous studies prematurely discontinued hormone therapy, which blocks the hormone estrogen from reaching the cancer and helping it grow.