Welcome to my world

I am a wife, a mom, a daughter, a sister and a friend.
I've learned that who you have in your life matters more than what you have.
Thank you for stepping in to my world!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 167

Yesterday I added a new drug to my "kick cancer's ass arsenal".  Tamoxifen is a hormonal therapy used to treat patients with estrogen-receptor positive cancer cells.  Basically that means if you have cancer and estrogen feeds that cancer, it's recommended that you take Tamoxifen (or another similar medicine if you are post-menopausal) to block the estrogen.  If you starve cancer of its food source, it can't grow.

According to www.breastcancer.org, Tamoxifen can:
  • reduce the risk of breast cancer coming back by 40% to 50% in postmenopausal women and by 30% to 50% in premenopausal women
  • slow or stop the growth or advanced (metastatic) hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer in both pre- and postmenopausal women
  • lower breast cancer risk in women who have a higher-than-average risk of disease but have not been diagnosed
  • help stop bone loss after menopause
  • lower cholesterol levels
That all sounds great, right?
On the flip side:

Tamoxifen's selective estrogen activation effects can cause some serious side effects, including blood clots, stroke, and endometrial cancer. The most common side effects of Tamoxifen are increased bone pain, hot flashes, nausea, fatigue, mood swings, depression, headache, hair thinning, constipation, dry skin, and loss of libido.
Getting rid of cancer means you're healthy.  So why is it that so many of the treatments used to achieve that make you feel so unhealthy?!?!??!  I know not everyone gets every side effect, and I recently read that women who experience night sweats and hot flashes while on hormonal therapy have a lower recurrence rate.  So if I'm sticking my head in the freezer or throwing my hat across the room more often now, I can be thankful that it might mean the Tamoxifen is doing it's job very well and keeping cancer away.  Amen to that!

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