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Tamoxifen.


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Old 20th October 2018, 1:51 AM   #1
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Tamoxifen.

In March this year, I had two malignant tumours removed from my breast. Both were under six mm with clear margins. No Chemo but six weeks of radiation.

I see the surgeon for a follow up at the end of this month. I am quite sure she will want to prescribe Tamoxifen and I am very reluctant to take it, in fact I am almost against the idea.

The side-effects listed concern me, in particular weight gain, hair-thinning and mood swings. I have worked hard to get to a weight that is healthy for me and since I had to stop HRT, my hair is growing back thick and fast. I have been depressed/anxiety for most of my life and have anger-management issues. I live alone and have been single (by choice and happily) for 12 years because of my short fuse.

I am five years post-menopausal.
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Old 20th October 2018, 2:56 AM   #2
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In March this year, I had two malignant tumours removed from my breast. Both were under six mm with clear margins. No Chemo but six weeks of radiation.

I see the surgeon for a follow up at the end of this month. I am quite sure she will want to prescribe Tamoxifen and I am very reluctant to take it, in fact I am almost against the idea.

The side-effects listed concern me, in particular weight gain, hair-thinning and mood swings. I have worked hard to get to a weight that is healthy for me and since I had to stop HRT, my hair is growing back thick and fast. I have been depressed/anxiety for most of my life and have anger-management issues. I live alone and have been single (by choice and happily) for 12 years because of my short fuse.

I am five years post-menopausal.
It is always a give and take. Only you and your doc can balance the risks vs benefits. But please keep an open mind.

In postmenopausal women, tamoxifen can reduce the risk of the cancer returning... by up to 50 percent. Are the side effects worth it? That is a personal decision.

The adverse effects may not be as bad as you think. Maybe, if your doc recommends it, you could give it a try. Either way, you won't be on it forever.

Best of luck to you ~
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Old 20th October 2018, 10:41 AM   #3
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All cancer medications are unpleasant, but I would chose to follow medical advice now rather than suffer surgery and drugs with worse side effects in the future.
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Old 20th October 2018, 10:45 AM   #4
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do what your Dr. tells you. get a 2nd opinion if you have to. and even a 3rd if necessary
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Old 20th October 2018, 10:52 AM   #5
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The side-effects listed concern me, in particular weight gain, hair-thinning and mood swings.
Couldn't you have made a similar list for radiation treatment? Or chemo, had your oncologist prescribed that?

Cancer is a battle, you're literally fighting your own cells. Unless you have some undisclosed medical background, I'd follow your Dr's advice.

Congrats on your recovery and progress so far...

Mr. Lucky
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Old 20th October 2018, 12:42 PM   #6
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I can most certainly appreciate why you would be tired of treatment, and side effects, and all the stress that comes from making these difficult decisions.

It is my understanding that when presented with some treatment options, the doctors give you the information and the patient weights the possible benefit with the risk of side effects.

My friend's mother was told that she could do chemo, but there was only a slight chance that it would be more effective than not doing the chemo - she chose to avoid the risk and the side effects of chemo because there was not enough benefit to doing the treatment.

It's a complicated decision, and you are wise to talk with your doctors and other women who have been faced with this same decision. I wish you well in your recovery.
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Old 20th October 2018, 9:46 PM   #7
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Hi everybody, and thanks for your opinions and support. I forgot to mention that I have a strong family history of BC spanning three generations that I am aware of.

I have to say it is a minefield of decisions and navigation. I am putting some money aside every week to afford a gene test and if that is positive I will have a bilateral mastectomy. Actually, my mind is made up in that department and I want to have it done.

I had little support last time. (A brother whom was there once every two weeks when he came to town but after so much extreme overt and covert emotional abuse, and the near-breakdown which he attributed to the BC, I have dismissed him from my life completely.) I was nothing but a project and source of observation to him. He is a sick bastard. The rest of the family are also toxic and abusive so I didn't even inform them. On top of that, I have nobody else. Female friends are thin on the ground when one is in their fifties, no kids and no responsibilities to anyone but me.

Double MX is my only option this time and I am relieved to have made the decision. Now I need to negotiate that with the oncologist and surgeon. If you people have anything else to say, please say it. I need all the support and opinions I can get.
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Old 5th November 2018, 11:46 PM   #8
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In 2013, I had a lumpectomy. I took Tamoxifen for the prescribed 5 years. I actually lost weight (with regular diet and exercise.) I didn't notice any of those other side effects you mentioned. What I DID notice (after I stopped taking it this summer) was that it had caused "brain fog." I didn't really notice exactly how bad the brain fog was until I felt like I could finally think clearly, again!

Because of my family history, I was tested for the BRCA 1 & 2 genes (about 20 years ago). The tests were negative (which is why I was so upset when I ended up with breast cancer!) Just 6-8 months ago, my younger sister was also diagnosed and opted for a double mastectomy. They also did genetic testing on her for the CHEK2 gene, which came back positive. (Her BRCA1 & 2 were also negative.) Her geneticist told her that I should also be tested for CHEK2. When I went to my oncologist for my annual check up and told her about my sister testing positive for CHEK2, she said "You've already had breast cancer and thyroid cancer, so we can assume you also have the CHEK2 gene." I have three daughters and worry about them. She said as long as they start mammograms at about 35 and get them annually, they should be okay. Mine was caught earlier than my sister's because I have been getting annual mammograms since I was about 38. She didn't start until she was almost 50!

Best of luck, get multiple opinions so that you can make an informed decision.
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Old 5th November 2018, 11:55 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Vesna View Post
Hi everybody, and thanks for your opinions and support. I forgot to mention that I have a strong family history of BC spanning three generations that I am aware of.

I have to say it is a minefield of decisions and navigation. I am putting some money aside every week to afford a gene test and if that is positive I will have a bilateral mastectomy. Actually, my mind is made up in that department and I want to have it done.

I had little support last time. (A brother whom was there once every two weeks when he came to town but after so much extreme overt and covert emotional abuse, and the near-breakdown which he attributed to the BC, I have dismissed him from my life completely.) I was nothing but a project and source of observation to him. He is a sick bastard. The rest of the family are also toxic and abusive so I didn't even inform them. On top of that, I have nobody else. Female friends are thin on the ground when one is in their fifties, no kids and no responsibilities to anyone but me.

Double MX is my only option this time and I am relieved to have made the decision. Now I need to negotiate that with the oncologist and surgeon. If you people have anything else to say, please say it. I need all the support and opinions I can get.
I completely forgot to add that I am sorry you are going through this without a support system, but it sounds like you are better off without the toxic type of support you had in that past. My diagnosis pretty much ended my first marriage because of the lack of support from my husband of 32 years. That diagnosis just turns your world upside down, no doubt.

BTW, I was also about 5 years post-menopausal when I was diagnosed. I never took HRT. Maybe that's why the Tamoxifen didn't really bother me (other than the brain fog?)

If you ever want to private message me to vent or ask questions, please feel free!
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