Delaying hormonal therapy?

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Question from Maribeth: I had a lumpectomy and radiation therapy just a year ago. I declined hormonal therapy. Is there any research on beginning at a delayed time?
Answers - Sandra F. Schnall, M.D. Assuming that the hormone receptors were positive, there is probably no downside to starting the hormonal therapy at this time, not only to prevent the recent cancer from coming back but as a measure for preventing future cancers from developing.
Marisa Weiss, M.D. Making decisions on hormonal therapy is not easy. It takes a lot of discussion between you and your doctor, family members, and friends that you trust before you are ready to commit to a therapy that's supposed to be taken on a daily basis over 5 years. Dr. Schnall and I share in the care of many women who might take many months, or even a year, to come to the point when they feel comfortable enough and sufficiently confident to jump in and start a hormonal therapy.

In contrast, we take care of people who may be ready to make the decision in 5 minutes to take it or not to take it. Each one of you is unique and different from each other. No one can force you to do something or take something if you don't want it or if you're not ready.

But if you are not ready and you're trying to figure out what to do, it's helpful to write down what's getting in your way. You have more questions that haven't been answered? Are there concerns you want to express? Get them on the table so that you can move through them and move beyond this decision.
Sandra F. Schnall, M.D. As part of the discussion, even though we as physicians can recommend the medication if helpful, we can always have you discuss this with other women who have started the hormonal therapy, or who have stopped, so you can discuss with them their reasons for starting or stopping. If you make the decision to proceed, you can always stop for side-effect reasons or for psychological reasons.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Hormonal Therapy Updates featured Sandra Schnall, M.D. and Marisa Weiss, M.D. answering 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.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in April 2004.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of 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.

A production of LiveWorld, Inc.
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

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