Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Keep taking that Tamoxifen!

 I see that experts are urging breast cancer patients to complete their full prescription of tamoxifen, following long-term results from a major Cancer Research UK-funded trial which showed the cancer was less likely to come back in women who took the drug for five years, compared to two years.

I didn't have to take it myself (my cancer wasn't hormone positive) but I know that some women suffer side effects and in some cases decide to stop taking it after 2 or 3 years. But the statistics show that there is a marked differnce if it is taken for 2 years versus , if recommended, 5 years.

Of the nearly 3,500 patients took part in the UK study, the cancer came back in around 40 per cent of the women who took tamoxifen for five years, compared to 46 per cent among those who took it for two years, according to results published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

So for every hundred women who completed the full five year course of tamoxifen, the cancer came back in around six fewer women, compared to those who only took the drug for two years.

Scientists already know that taking tamoxifen for five years gives the best chance of survival from breast cancer. But this randomised trial - led by researchers based at the Cancer Research UK and UCL Cancer Trials Centre - is the first large study to compare the long-term benefit of five years of tamoxifen versus two, over a ten year follow-up period.*

An interesting additional benefit of taking tamoxifen for five years was that it was found to reduce the risk of developing or dying from heart disease. This effect was strongest among women aged 50-59 at diagnosis, with 35 percent fewer women developing a heart condition and nearly 60 per cent fewer deaths as a result.

What has your  been your experience on tamoxifen ?

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