Tamoxifen - november 06.qxp

Breast Cancer Care helpline 0808 800 6000
Website www.brea stcancercare.org.uk
How long will I have to take
tamoxifen is, how it works, what the benefits tamoxifen?
You will usually take tamoxifen for five years, What is tamoxifen?
although this time can vary according toindividual circumstances. Some women may be changed to a different hormone therapy cancer in both men and women. It is a type of endocrine or hormone treatment which is also described as an anti-oestrogen drug. (exemestane) or Femara (letrozole). Thissometimes happens after less than five years How does it work?
of tamoxifen, but can also happen at theend of taking tamoxifen. For more Some breast cancers are stimulated to grow information, see our Arimidex
(anastrozole), Aromasin (exemestane) or
progesterone. There is a test, known as a Femara (letrozole) factsheets.
hormone receptor test, to discover whetherbreast cancer cells are sensitive to these What are the side effects of
hormones. If the result is positive it means tamoxifen?
that tamoxifen may be suitable for you.
Everyone reacts differently to drugs and some others. Tamoxifen usually causes only a few progesterone on cancer cells, stopping them controllable. It is not common for someone tostop taking tamoxifen because of side effects. How is tamoxifen taken?
Tamoxifen comes as a tablet or a liquid that listed below. It is important to remember recommended dose is 20mg daily. It is bestto take it at the same time every day. If you Common side effects
miss a dose you don’t need to take an extradose the next day. The level of the drug in The most common side effects are similar to your body will remain high enough from the menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes.
previous day. It is important not to stop menopausal symptoms see our Menopausal
symptoms and breast cancer and
Complementary therapies publications.
flight, it may be advisable to talk to your specialist about taking a low-dose aspirin. It is also advisable to wear flight socks, drink still having regular periods may find that they become irregular, lighter or stop completely.
flight and go for a walk after arrival or the headaches, vaginal irritation or discharge and If you need to have surgery for any reason, during their treatment, although there is no clear evidence linking this weight gain to Tamoxifen can also affect the lining of the Tamoxifen can also have an effect on bone thickness. If you are post-menopausal there vaginal bleeding, discharge or pain tell your is evidence that tamoxifen slows down the process of bone loss, reducing the risk of polyps or ovarian cysts or, very rarely, cancer experience thinning of the bones. If you have concerns about this, you may want to Are there different side effects
discuss it with your specialist. For more information see our leaflet Bone health and
breast cancer
Men can have similar side effects to thoseexperienced by women, such as hot flushes Less common or rare side effects
and headaches. A number of small studieshave also noted other side effects, such as A small number of women notice an increase decreased sex drive, though this recovered singing voice. Some women find their hairthins while taking tamoxifen.
Can I take tamoxifen with other
There is a very slight risk of other side effects that can be more serious such as changes in concerned about taking any other medicines Taking tamoxifen also increases the risk of thrombosis (blood clots). If you have had blood clots in the past or are at risk of developing them, then your specialist will remember that these can have an effect on your body and should be used with care. The anti-coagulant, such as warfarin, then your shown to interact with tamoxifen and it is anyone taking tamoxifen it is important to realise this risk and ways you can reduce this.
have an oestrogen or progesterone positive anti-coagulant and are travelling on a long Tamoxifen
herbal preparations on tamoxifen is not fully Further help from Breast Cancer
understood and you should take the advice of your specialist and a qualified herbalistbefore taking any. We hope that you have found this factsheetuseful and informative. For further medical Fertility and pregnancy
information, emotional support, and details
of our services, call our helpline free on 0808
If you are pre-menopausal your periods may 800 6000 (textphone 0808 800 6001).
become irregular or stop but will usually Breast Cancer Care’s website has an email return to their previous pattern when you enquiries service called Ask the nurse, along stop taking tamoxifen. You should not get with forums and live chat sessions where you pregnant while you are taking tamoxifen so can share your views with people in a similar it is very important to use reliable non- situation. For more information about these femidoms, a diaphragm or coil (IUD). Even if www.breastcancercare.org.uk.
your periods stop while you are takingtamoxifen you could still get pregnant, so In addition, our centres provide one-to-one you must continue to use contraception.
support and other services, including:Healthy Living Days; Living with Breast If you are planning to get pregnant after you Cancer courses; breast prosthesis fitting in have finished taking tamoxifen, it is advisable to wait at least two months to allow time for HeadStrong for people experiencing hair loss the drug to leave the body completely. You should talk to your specialist team about the Further support
North & Midlands Tel: 0845 077 1893
You may take tamoxifen for some time and it can be unsettling when you stop taking it.
London & South Tel: 0845 077 1895
You may find it helpful to discuss this or any other concerns with your specialist or breast • Scotland Tel: 0845 077 1892 Email:
care nurse. You may also find it helpful to • Cymru/Wales Tel: 0845 077 1894 Email:
experience to you. You can do this one to Breast Cancer Care also has a wide range of information on individual support or support publications to guide you from diagnosis to groups in your area call the Breast Cancer download and order our publications at
www.breastcancercare.org.uk or call our
helpline on 0808 800 6000 for a printed
order form.
Other organisations
Macmillan Cancer Support
89 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7UQ
3 Bath Place, Rivington Street
Macmillan CancerLine: 0808 808 2020Textphone: 0808 808 0121 Email: info@cancerbackup.orgWebsite: www.cancerbackup.org.uk Macmillan Cancer Support is helping peoplewho are living with cancer through the information and support charity for people emotional support. Specialist services include centres, a range of cancer information and information booklets and local information centres. All Cancerbackup services are free to emotional support. Textphone available.
About Breast Cancer Care
Breast Cancer Care is the UK’s leading provider of information, practical assistance andemotional support for anyone affected by breast cancer. Every year we respond to overtwo million requests for support and information about breast cancer or breast healthconcerns. All our services are free.
We are committed to campaigning for better treatment and support for people withbreast cancer and their families.
For more information visit www.breastcancercare.org.uk or call the Breast Cancer
Care helpline free on 0808 800 6000 (textphone 0808 800 6001). Calls may be
monitored for training purposes. Confidentiality is maintained between callers and
Breast Cancer Care.
This factsheet has been produced by Breast Cancer Care’s clinical specialists and reviewed by
healthcare professionals and people affected by breast cancer.

Factsheet Breast Cancer Care 2003. Revised November 2006
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or transmitted, in any formor by any means, without the prior permission in writing of the publishers. 11/06 Tamoxifen

Source: http://www.ricklinforth.com/doc/tamoxifen__november_06_0.pdf

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