Extended Endocrine Therapy: Is 5 Years Enough?

Extended Endocrine Therapy: Is 5 Years Enough?

NBC ran a story on this in 2017 citing a New England Journal of Medicine study that asked Extended Endocrine Therapy: Is 5 Years Enough? found extending therapy extends protection from recurrence. Breast cancer survivors will want to discuss these new findings with their doctors.

The New Study

The study indicates that ending hormone suppression therapy after 5 years may be too early.  The NBC news report states that after ending the therapy after the normal 5 years the risk of the cancer returning remains even 2o years later. The study’s conclusion explains that while most women don’t get any recurrence of cancer during the 5 years on the hormone suppression, the recurrence rate is steady during the 5-20 years after stopping. This conclusion is prompting physicians to recommend their patients take Tamoxifen for 10 years. This doubles the length of time on the drug for most women.

Was your hormone suppression therapy long enough?

Side Effects

Tamoxifen has a long history in cancer treatment. Hundreds of thousands of women have taken the drug. Many of them have side effects that can be debilitating. The prospect of adding 5 years onto an already extensive time on the drug is unbearable for some women. So many women have side effects that Breastcancer.org has an ongoing forum on the topic: Is Tamoxifen Worth It?

Another study looked at why some women don’t take their Tamoxifen as prescribed. These women are labeled as noncompliant. There are serious ramifications to making this choice.

It’s important to remember, your oncologist will know if the bennifits out weigh the risks of prescribing any medication.

For more info you can watch the NBC news story here

Or read the preview of the NEJM study here

Read Cancer Smarter’s post Can Weight gain Be Caused By Tamoxifen?

Read Cancer Smarter’s post Tamoxifen Promotes Metastasis In Some Cancer Cells.


2 Comments

  • I’m 73 and stopped Anastrozole after 6 months. The side effects were so dibilitating I couldn’t function. My chance of reoccurrence is low, and I decided to take the chance. Living the rest of my life as a mindless, zombie isn’t much of a life. If I was 40, or had a more aggressive cancer, I might have made a different decision.

    • I’m glad you found my site useful, but sad that you found my site. I tried Anastrozole for about 6 months. I could barely make it through the work day. I’m a preschool teacher so I have to be able to move! Best wishes on your journey.

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