Thursday, January 3, 2013

Is it time to stop your Tamoxifen ? Maybe and maybe not.

New findings are just out from the ATLAS trial and were presented at the San Antonio Breast Care Symposium and then published in The Lancet on December 5, 2012.

This was a large study, nearly 7,000 women, with early stage, estrogen receptor positive breast cancer.  They were enrolled between 1996 and 2005. All participants took Tamoxifen for the 5 year course and then were assigned to either continue for another 5 years or stop  the medication at the 5 year mark.

From years 5-9 there was little difference in outcomes in the 2 groups. The improved outcomes emerged only after the 10 year mark.

Among the women who took Tamoxifen for 10 years the risk of breast cancer returning between the 10th and 14th years after starting Tamoxifen was 25% lower than for the women in the 5 year group and the risk of dying from breast cancer was nearly 30% lower than in the 5 year group.

So, what does this mean for you?  Well, there are no “ cookie cutter answers” and the first thing to do is to discuss with your oncologist how this would work for you.

Some things to think about :

Have you already tried Tamoxifen and had side effects?

Is your cancer Estrogen Receptor Positive ?

Does your type of cancer put you at a higher risk of recurrence after your therapy ends?

Talk to you oncologist!