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Mother diagnosed with Colon and Breast all at the same time

fighting_ big_c's picture
fighting_ big_c
Posts: 64
Joined: Mar 2013

Hi. My mother was recently diagnosed with colon and breast cancer. She is turning 67 this April and will start her chemo as soon as she heals from her colon resection. Her medical oncologist will put her to Tamoxifen for the breast and Xeloda for the colon. I would like to know the side effects for these 2 medications if anyone here is taking them currently. Also, I heard Aromacin? is better than Tamoxifen? Is this true? A family friend of ours mentioned it to me. She said that Tamoxifen made her breast cancer moved to her uterus. My mom has already both breast and colon. I don't want anything more new for her. We all are heartbroken of this news. Please share some infos please.

Double Whammy's picture
Double Whammy
Posts: 2791
Joined: Jun 2010

I too had 2 primary cancer diagnoses at the same time.  Hence my screen name.  Mine were breast and endometrial cancers.  I assume your mom still has her uterus or you would not be concerned about uterine cancer and Tamoxifen.  It is indeed a known (but rare) side effect of Tamoxifen, but it doesn't make breast cancer move there.   The uterine lining sees Tamoxifen as estrogen and this can make the lining thicken and any abnormal cells grow (i.e., cancer).  It is not breast cancer - it is endometrial cancer.  Women on Tamoxifen are watched closely for this potential effect (regular exams and pelvic ultrasounds).   But wait - your mom is 67.  Is there a reason she can't be on an aromotase inhibitor (arimidex, femera, etc)?  That's what is typically given for ER+ breast cancer in post menopausal women and it has no effect on the uterus.  Some women can't tolerate aromatase inhibitors so will be given Tamoxifen instead.  I'm on Tamoxifen and I'm 65.  Just switched from Arimidex.  So far I have no side effects.  I have no uterus, but the other potential side effect which is not nice is blood clots.  My onc asked me if I'd had problems back in the day (waaaaaaay back in the day) with clots on birth control pills. I guess that's a good indicator of whether one would be at higher risk for clots.  I think I may have some hot flashes on Tamoxifen - who knows at this age?

The benefits of these drugs outweigh the risks.  They are very effective in estrogen-receptor positive cancers (both of mine were). 

There is so much to learn when one is diagnosed with cancer if one wants to be an active participant in its treatments and followups.  This group is a one great resource and support. 



DebbyM's picture
Posts: 3293
Joined: Oct 2009

Just wanting to say that your Mom will be in my prayers!

KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

Read my info page, if you would like.....I was treated first for the colon cancer...I had the 'big guns'.....Cisplatin, 5FU (Xeloda's cousin), for the chemo....

Make sure to visit both the colon and breast cancer forums....they have MUCH knowlege!!!

Hugs, Kathi

(Tamoxifen is more than likely to slow down the growth of the BC....hold it at bay until after the colon cancer is resolved...IMHO)

fighting_ big_c's picture
fighting_ big_c
Posts: 64
Joined: Mar 2013

Ms. KathiM, her medical oncologist decided to do both at the same time. She will be in Xeloda and Tamoxifen. I was told that the breast surgery (lumpectomy) will be done after the tumor shrinks. What do you think?

Angie2U's picture
Posts: 2992
Joined: Sep 2009

Good luck to your mom on xeloda and tamox.  Several here are on those.  Many times also, they don't do surgery until after the tumor shrinks.

Praying and sending hugs,


Posts: 1191
Joined: Dec 2010

I know you are worried about your mom, and it is great to have a daughter that cares and loves her mom so much.

Maybe try trusting your mother's doctors and their treatments choices for her a little more (unless  you have reason not to)? Maybe ask your mom if you could go to an oncology appt. with her so you can ask the doctor questions you have.

Even though your mom has cancers, and it may be the same type as someone else's, doesn't mean that all treatments are the same for all patients. Each of our situations are unique, and get a unique treatment plan. Aromacin is used for certain people, Tamoxifen is used for certain people. Your mom's doctors are choosing treatments based on your mom's needs, not someone elses.

I don't believe that Tamoxifen can make bc move to the uterus. There is a slim chance of developing uterine cancer with Tamoxifen. Every drug we take has some side effects that are possible. Some side effects are worse, some not so much. And just because x side effect happened to one person, doesn't mean it will happen to someone else.

Friends, family, and internet are great places to learn information, but I have to be careful that I am not using it to diagnose myself, or get myself all worked up about things. If that is happening, I take a break.

I wish your mom the best with her upcoming treatment journey. Please feel free to come back anytime and let us know how you and your mom are doing.

Kylez's picture
Posts: 3765
Joined: May 2009

I'm sending lots of support, encouragement and prayers for your Mother.


DianeBC's picture
Posts: 3886
Joined: Jun 2009

Offering hugs and prayers too.  How is your mom doing?  I hope you will keep us updated as we all care.

Hugs, Diane

Megan M's picture
Megan M
Posts: 3001
Joined: Dec 2009

I am not on tamox, so, I don't know what it is like to take it.  I am hoping that your Mom will do well on it with no side effects if that is what her onco and her decide on.  Keep posting so we know how your Mom is.

Hugs to you and your Mom,


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