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Anastrozole is a medication that blocks estrogen production. It is part of the nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitor drug group. Doctors prescribe it for breast cancer treatment, particularly in post-menopausal women with localized breast cancer, or will prescribe to individuals who are at high risk for getting breast cancer for prevention purposes. Anastrozole reduces estrogen hormone levels which in turn will slow the growth of tumors and shrink tumors.
The majority of women with breast cancer are considered ER positive (oestrogen receptor positive), and their cancer cells require estrogen to survive and continue to grow. Before a women reaches menopause, the oestrogen is produced in her ovaries. After menopause, the production of oestrogen in the ovaries decreases drastically and aromatase is used in the body to convert androgens produced by adrenal glands into oestrogen.
Scientific research and clinical trials discovered that aromatase inhibiting drugs could reduce oestrogen levels in postmenopausal women and thus treat (and kill the cells causing) breast cancer.