Something other than Arimidex to keep estrogen low?


Question from RoseA: I took tamoxifen for 1 year and switched to Arimidex for 4 more years. After that, my doctor told me I couldn't take Arimidex or anything else because I had completed 5 years of treatment. I have been not taking any treatment for the past year and worry every day about it. Isn't there something else I can take to keep the estrogen low so the cancer does not come back?
Answers - Patricia A. Ganz, M.D. That's an excellent question, but at this point in time we do not recommend any more than the length of time with Arimidex that you have taken. As noted with the earlier question, there are now research studies underway to determine whether 5 additional years are safe, and who would benefit from the additional therapy. Over the years, the length of time of endocrine therapy has been extended for women with breast cancer. In my practice, every time there has been a change in the length of therapy (for instance 2 years to 5 years, or 5 years of tamoxifen followed by 5 years of an aromatase inhibitor), women are very anxious when they stop therapy. It is best to discuss with your physician whether you can join a research study that would help answer this question, but without evidence of benefit, we would not recommend additional treatment.
Lillie Shockney, R.N., B.S., M.A.S. Women should feel good about reaching their 5-year mark. Risk of recurrence is highest in the first few years, and having passed that milestone, I hope women are feeling more confident about their health status, rather than less confident.

On Wednesday, August 15, 2007, the Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Managing Ongoing Medications. Patricia Ganz, M.D. and moderator Lillie Shockney, R.N., B.S., M.A.S. answered your questions about staying on track with breast cancer medications you have to take on a regular basis.

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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