Tamoxifen for 10 Years Improves Survival

Tamoxifen for 10 Years Improves Survival

Certain types of breast cancer require estrogen to grow.  Tamoxifen is a drug taken orally in pill form that blocks the actions of estrogen.  It is one of the most widely used drugs in the battle against breast cancer, with more than 1 million people taking it worldwide.  But how long should breast cancer survivors take it for?

 

Here’s the dealio (as my daughter always says)…. 

Research now shows that extending adjuvant use of Tamoxifen for a total of 10 years (rather than the standard 5 years) leads to even better survival rates, especially in premenopausal women.

In this study (led by Dr. Christina Davies of the University of Oxford in England), researchers found that women who took Tamoxifen for 10 years (vs. 5 years) lowered their risk of a recurrence by 25% and their risk of dying of breast cancer by 29%.  The results of this study have the potential to change standard treatment protocols.

Typical side effects caused by Tamoxifen include hot flashes and fatigue.  Longer use though nearly doubles the risk of endometrial cancer.  In the cases studied though, the endometrial cancer “rarely proved fatal, and there was no increased risk among premenopausal women in the study – the very group tamoxifen helps most.”

 

THE BOTTOMLINE:  If you are premenopausal and taking tamoxifen, do your own research about this study and talk to your doctor.  The benefits of taking Tamoxifen for 10 years might outweigh the risks of doing.   

 

(sources:  ABC News; Journal of the National Cancer Institute)

 

 



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