To continue tamoxifen or try new medication?


Question from Evelyn: I am 50 years old, had a hysterectomy with BSO and 0.9 cm breast cancer treated with lumpectomy and radiation. I am on tamoxifen for 2½ years. How do I decide whether to continue with tamoxifen or use some of the new aromatase inhibitors?
Answers - Marisa Weiss, M.D. In other words, you have had your uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes removed, and you also were diagnosed with a 0.9 cm (about a half-inch) breast cancer.
Sandra F. Schnall, M.D. The recommendation would be to continue with the tamoxifen to complete the 5-year course, and, based on present data, to then initiate a course of the aromatase inhibitors for another 5 years of that agent.
Marisa Weiss, M.D. You are probably aware of two studies in the last 6 months that looked at switching from tamoxifen after 2 or 3 years over to Arimidex or to Aromasin recently reviewed at Breastcancer.org. There are more options today than there were when you were first presented with the recommendation to take tamoxifen. 

During the 5 years of taking any medication, it's good when new advances come along that make you reconsider what you're doing. One of the reasons why you go back and see your doctor several times a year is to discuss what you're doing and how you might decide to improve upon it. Last month's Research News presents all the options that you can print out and take into your doctor's office to stimulate this discussion.
Sandra F. Schnall, M.D. Any time there are toxicities or side effects from one agent, it's good to discuss with your doctor options to switch to other hormonal therapies to alleviate those side effects.

On Wednesday, April 21, 2004, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Hormonal Therapy Updates. Sandra Schnall, M.D. and Marisa Weiss, M.D. answered your questions about hormonal therapies and answered questions about which ones work best in different situations, how they might fit into your treatment sequence, how to deal with side effects, and more.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

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