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A Breast Cancer Expert comments on whether women should take Tamoxifen for more than five years

Posted Mar 26 2013 5:46pm


The recent data from the ATLAS study show that women who had Tamoxifen for at least ten years as an adjuvant treatment, following surgery for hormoneA substance produced by a gland in one part of the body and carried by the blood to the organs or tissues where it has an effect.-sensitive breast cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body., seem to have a better outcome than those who had Tamoxifen for five years. This is the first study to show that ten years of Tamoxifen is superior to five years. This is a relatively large study involving approximately 7000 women with a longer follow-up than previous studies. Therefore, its result should be considered as more definitive and should have an impact on current clinical practice.

In my opinion, patients who have very favourable prognostic features for their hormone-sensitive breast cancer, such as: small size, grade 1, node negative, probably can take Tamoxifen for five years only. However, those who had more aggressive hormone-sensitive breast cancer, i.e. larger than 2cm, grade 3, node positive etc, should consider taking Tamoxifen for ten years, in order to improve their clinical outcome (by 25/30%). In post-menopausalAfter the menopause - technically only once a woman has had no menstrual period for one year. women Tamoxifen treatment can be switched to an aromatase inhibitor for an extended period so that they will receive at least ten years of endocrine therapy. Whilst Tamoxifen has adverse effectsUndesirable side-effects of medication., however, these are esily outweighed by the potential benefits especially in women who had a previous hysterectomyThe surgical removal of the uterus (womb)..

By Professor Kefah Mokbel

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