Flash Update: Breast Cancer

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There are new studies indicating that Tamoxifen might be more beneficial in preventing breast cancer recurrence if taken for up to 10 years instead of 5 years.  One case of breast cancer can be prevented for every 27 women on tamoxifen for 10 years instead of 5 years.  And this benefit outweighs the increased risk of uterine cancer (a risk for post-menopausal women, not pre-menopausal) and blood clots to the lungs.  Tamoxifen is best for PREmenopausal women.  Arimidex is best in POSTmenopausal women.  Speak to your doctor about these new study results.

One of the side effects of Tamoxifen is the dreaded hot flashes.  For breast cancer survivors, estrogen should not be used to treat flashes.  There are effective medications for survivors that can reduce hot flashes including Celexa (Citalopram) and Effexor (Venlafaxine).  These are also anti-depressant medications.  Avoid Paxil (Paroxetine) and Prozac (Fluoxetine) because these may make Tamoxifen less effective.  Other medications that can be used are Neurontin (Gabapentin) or Catapres (Clonidine).  Avoid soy supplements because these can counteract Tamoxifen’s anti-estrogen effects.  Speak to your doctor for suggestions if your hot flashes are unbearable.

 

 

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