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Tamoxifen Tomorrow

Posted Aug 23 2008 10:50pm 1 Comment

I start Tamoxifen tomorrow. Am hesitant about this drug but must do it. Just like chemo, surgery and radiation. "Buck up and deal with it Chickie!"

Tamoxifen (Nolvadex®) is a drug, taken orally as a tablet, which interferes with the activity of estrogen, a female hormone. Estrogen can promote the development of cancer in the breast. Tamoxifen is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the prevention of breast cancer and for the treatment of breast cancer, as well as other types of cancer.

Tamoxifen has been used for more than 30 years to treat breast cancer in women and men. Tamoxifen is used to treat patients with early-
stage breast cancer, as well as those with metastatic breast cancer (cancer that has spread to other parts of the body). As adjuvant therapy (treatment given after the primary treatment to increase the chances of a cure ), tamoxifen helps prevent the original breast cancer from returning and also helps prevent the development of new cancers in the other breast. As treatment for metastatic breast cancer, the drug slows or stops the growth of cancer cells that are present in the body.

Tamoxifen has been used for almost 10 years to reduce the risk of breast cancer in women who are at increased risk of developing breast cancer. Tamoxifen is also used to treat women with
ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), a noninvasive condition that sometimes leads to invasive breast cancer.

How does Tamoxifen work?

Estrogen can promote the growth of breast cancer cells. Some breast cancers are classified as estrogen receptor-positive (also known as hormone sensitive), which means that they have a
protein to which estrogen will bind. These breast cancer cells need estrogen to grow. Tamoxifen works against the effects of estrogen on these cells. It is often called an antiestrogen or a SERM ( Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator ).

Studies have shown that tamoxifen is only effective in treating estrogen receptor-positive breast cancers. Therefore, the
tumor ’s hormone receptor status should be determined before deciding on treatment options for breast cancer.

Although tamoxifen acts against the effects of estrogen in breast
tissue , it acts like estrogen in other tissue. This means that women who take tamoxifen may derive many of the beneficial effects of menopausal estrogen replacement therapy, such as a decreased risk of osteoporosis .

Possible side effects:
Stop using tamoxifen and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects: sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body;

sudden headache, confusion, problems with vision, speech, or balance; chest pain, shortness of breath, or coughing up blood; pain or swelling in one or both legs; unusual vaginal bleeding or discharge; irregular menstrual periods; pain or pressure in your pelvic area;

fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms; pale skin, easy bruising or bleeding; new breast lumps; or nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).

Less serious side effects may include:hot flashes, warmth or tingly feeling under your skin;

bone, joint, or tumor pain; redness or skin changes; swelling in your hands or feet;

vaginal itching or dryness; depressed mood, weakness; weight loss; nausea; cough, sore throat; decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm;

headache, dizziness; or thinning hair.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur.

Makes one want to run right out and get some right?!
Tomorrow morning - day 1 of 5 years or 1,825 doses/days. Huge hoping here that I experience zero side effects.

Comments (1)
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Hope u r doing well with the tamoxifen! I was so afraid to take it, and I had heard of many women doing so well....I chose not to! I had the sweats so badly it was embarrassing... Good Luck
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