Tamoxifen

I am in the process of updating my Cancer Survivor’s Bible in the hope that I can attract a mainstream publisher who has the distribution facility to get this book into bookshops. Currently the book is only available from on-line bookshops. The last time I updated my book I lost all my status and was unable to transfer testimonials – so went from page 1 on Amazon UK and Amazon USA to the further reaches for cyber-Siberia. Not a pleasant experience and even years later I have not managed to get back – so I won’t be updating this on-line book. However, I will post portions of my new version on the blog. Here is my updated discussion of Tamoxifen:

Tamoxifen

Tamoxifen is often prescribed to women who have been treated for ER+ breast cancer (meaning that it is estrogen driven). Tamoxifen (a drug that blocks the oestrogen receptors) is prescribed for five and increasingly ten years. The pluses are that doctors say there are proven ‘significant’ improvements in life expectancy (and it is cheap). The downside is that there are many very uncomfortable side effects and many, but not all,  women find these effects intolerable. There is also the added fact that it is known to provoke endometrial cancer and possibly increase vulnerability to strokes and blood-clotting. That is a big defect. Who wants to take a pill that makes them feel bad, perhaps very bad, and could lead to cancer? It depends of course on how significant the benefit is. What is significant to a doctor may not be persuasive to a patient. A study published in The Lancet in 2011 reported the following results:  About 26 percent of women taking tamoxifen for 5 years after their cancer was removed had a breast cancer recurrence within 10 years, compared to about 40% of women not taking tamoxifen – an absolute benefit of 14 percent for recurrence. However most  women who had a recurrence did not die of breast cancer:  About 17 percent of women younger than 45 years and 22 percent of women aged 45-54 years who took tamoxifen died from breast cancer within 10 years of the initial diagnosis, compared to, respectively,  20% and 28% of women those same ages who did not take tamoxifen. So the absolute benefit in extending life was only three percent for the younger women and six percent for the older group.

Sherrill Sellman, a health writer, has investigated the subject intensively, and I recommend that you read her article in full. It can be read at www.all-natural.com/tamox.html . She concludes that Tamoxifen has shown a very marginal benefit— but only for post-menopausal women— but that it comes with such serious side effects (risk of blood clots, endometrial cancer, uterine sarcoma and fibroids) that it should almost certainly be avoided. More recently two similar drugs appear to have better results with reduced negative impacts: Raloxifene and Anastrozole (Arimidex). However, the list of side effects for these two  drugs still makes for sobering reading:

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