Are you having back pain with any of the following?

  • Severe pain, weakness or tingling in your leg(s).
  • Difficulty stopping urination or loss of control of bladder or bowels.
  • Unexplained fever, nausea or vomiting.
  • A history of cancer or unexplained weight loss.

We understand that you are experiencing one or more of the health issues that might be impacting your back pain.

We recommend that you discuss these health issues with your doctor before proceeding with this program.

Once you are cleared by your doctor to do this program, we hope it helps you find relief from your back pain.

Cancer Care

Santa Clara Medical Center

News & Events

Dr. Pan and Dr. Lee's Blog

Tamoxifen: How long should you continue drug treatment?

Jan 01, 2013

by Dr. Minggui Pan

In December 2012, a study presented in the 2012 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium showed that taking tamoxifen for ten years – instead of the typical five year treatment – after breast cancer diagnosis gave women a 25 percent lower recurrence rate and 29 percent lower breast cancer mortality rate.

Certainly this new data will change our practice and our recommendations for breast cancer drug treatment.

Side effects
The study showed that taking tamoxifen for ten years did increase the risk of endometrial (uterine) cancer, though the benefit appeared to be higher than the risk. Women taking tamoxifen are monitored with annual pelvic exams to screen for endometrial cancer. Some of the other side effects associated with tamoxifen include blood clot, weight gain, hair thinning, and vaginal dryness.

On the flip side, tamoxifen can help maintain bone density and lower “bad” LDL cholesterol, as well as reduce the risk of breast cancer occurring in the other healthy breast.

Is this new recommendation right for you?
Many women with breast cancer – especially postmenopausal women – start drug treatment with hormone therapy in the form of an aromatase inhibitor such as Anastrozole (Arimidex). Premenopausal women may benefit more from starting with tamoxifen and then switching to Arimidex later in treatment. And there are some women who are not able to tolerate Arimidex or other aromatase inhibitors and, therefore, will only take tamoxifen for treatment. For premenopausal women, taking tamoxifen for ten years is a valid option.

These are all things we take into consideration when determining if a full ten years of tamoxifen treatment is right for you.

If you have additional questions about tamoxifen, Arimidex, or other drug treatments, talk to your oncologist.

Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year!

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