A new twice-daily pill approved by the NHS could help benefit around 4,000 women with breast cancer.

The charity Breast Cancer Now has welcomed a decision by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) to offer women abemaciclib, which cut the chance of the disease coming back once a tumour has been removed.

This drug, made by Eli Lilly, is suitable for those with hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative, node-positive early breast cancer at high risk of recurrence who have had surgery.

Results from a clinical trial showed that people having abemaciclib with hormone therapy had a more than 30% better chance of their cancer not coming back following surgery compared with hormone therapy alone.

In Cumbria: The new pill would be taken twice daily (PA)The new pill would be taken twice daily (PA)

Around 50,000 people a year are diagnosed in England with breast cancer.

HER2-negative breast cancer is the most common type, accounting for about 70% of all breast cancers.

It is estimated that early breast cancer comes back after initial treatment in around 30% of people.

Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive at Breast Cancer Now, said: “It’s fantastic thousands of women with this type of primary breast cancer will now have an additional treatment option available on the NHS to help further reduce the risk of the disease coming back.

“The fear of breast cancer returning or spreading to other parts of their body and becoming incurable can cause considerable anxiety for so many women and their loved ones.

“New effective treatments such as abemaciclib, which can offer more women the chance to further reduce the risk of the disease recurring, are therefore extremely welcome and this is an important step-change in the drug options available for this group of patients.”