risk of not taking tamoxifin?

pita1 Member Posts: 5
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
I was diagnosed with BC in March, had a lumpectomy and then 7 nodes removed. I have 5 more radiation treatments out of 33 to go and my onc wants me to go on tamoxifen...(I am seeing him tomorrow to discuss this). I am considering not taking it...I can't stand the thought of depression (and more drugs for them!) and more hot flashes (had a hysterectomy in 1989, I was on premarin for 13 years) (And MORE drugs!) My onc printed a baseline prognosis from MayoClinic.com based on my information. The estimated 10 year survival rate if NO adjuvant therapy was given, is 81%. With Tamoxifen, 85.4%. It seems like a small percentage considering all the side effects I would have to suffer through. I have never tolerated drugs well and feel it might not be worth it, to take a drug for 5 years. Any thoughts? I'm confused and scared, with no real support of any kind that I can discuss this with. Thanks


  • ksfc
    ksfc Member Posts: 251
    While many women dp have some side effects with tamoxifen, others have none. I've had hot flashes, but they're not unbearable. My mom was on tamoxifen for 5 years post-menopause and didn't notice any side effects. You could always try it, and if you find yourself miserable, you can stop taking it. You might be pleasantly surprised.
  • DeeNY711
    DeeNY711 Member Posts: 476 Member
    When the plan for surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy given to me, it was as if a sledge hammer fell between me and what used to be my life. All of the information about each, in combination with all of the negative things said by others about each, made for a crushing burden of decisions. Here is my very best piece of advice. Despite all of the things I have read on the message board about Adriamycin, Cytoxan and Taxotere, my experience has been no where near as dire as things described in lurid detail. It was no walk in the park, but I now have only two chemo treatments left (and the radiation & Tamoxifen)and I'm glad that I at least tried. When it hits the fan, there is absolutely no feeling worse than the feeling you get knowing that you could have done something, but chose not to. One way or the other, you are the one who must live with the consequences of your decision. I completely understand your wish for your life to return to normal, and share it 100%. When I read the same statistics you read, my mind says that the failure rate without adjunctive therapy is close to 20%, but with it, the failure rate is 14.4%
  • SweetSue
    SweetSue Member Posts: 217
    There are many choices we are forced to make , when trying to survive this dreaded disease. Whatever gives us the best chance of survival...even if it's 1%...I say go for it. I JUst finished my last chemo , and relunctantly , I will take tomaxifen. I felt I must treat my cancer aggressively....and I have. Now, it's out of my hands.
    Everybody is different;side effects vary.
    Good Luck!!!
  • jamjar62
    jamjar62 Member Posts: 135
    I agree that a 4.4% increase doesn't sound like much on paper. But if you think of it in terms of 4 more women out of a hundred would live then it sounds significant...especially if you are one of the four! My radiation onc wanted me to radiate my neck nodes and I resisted because of the "measly" 7% increase in survival until I started thinking of 7 more women and I want to be one of those 7!

    We all want to hear survival rates of 100%; at least I do. But even life without cancer is no guarantee of living another day.

    Grab onto that 4% and go for it! You can always change your mind if the side effects are too much.

  • cinder
    cinder Member Posts: 50
    I had a lumpectomy in 1993, had chemo, had radiation & then on tamoxifen for 5 years. Was just told in March of this year that the big "C" is back. I am now on Arimidex, I didn't hesitate when they told me it was back I said what do we do next? I didn't have enough problems with any of things that I had to go thru not to try again, who knows maybe I'll get another 10 years. Best of Luck in whatever you decide.
  • jake10
    jake10 Member Posts: 202
    I agree with many above, 4% is a lot when you think of them as friends or coworkers or sisters. And you can always stop if the side effects are too great. I am on Arimidex and have hot flashes a lot during the day. Especially in this summer heat but.....Getting hot flashes is tolerable compared to living with the increased risk of the cancer comming back. I say try you may be pleasantly suprised. Good Luck! Beth
  • pamelaa
    pamelaa Member Posts: 10
    I agree, it is worth a trial. I was placed on Taxoxifen several months ago and also reluctant of side effects. Post hysterectomy 2000, so understand hot flashes! Anyway, I had alittle blooting and "morning sickness" for about a week then Nothing!! No hot flashes (actually they improved!) Good luck! Pam
  • marytres
    marytres Member Posts: 144
    Hi, I agree with all those who posted you about taking tamoxifen to fight your cancer but I also suggest that you ask about Arimidex. I take it and don't have any problems with it. Suppose to be better too. Hugs, Marie