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Continuing 5 Years on Tamoxifen after Breast Cancer


I'm Dr. J. Harness, and I want to share with you important information that I believe that every diagnosed patient with breast cancer needs to know.

In December 2012, when we were at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, we had discussed a story at San Antonio meeting, and it was about continuing Tamoxifen for another five years.

There are a lot of debates about it. The British study had many more patients in it, but was it quite as tightly controlled as the US study, the US study that was done several years ago? After the first five years of Tamoxifen they then randomized patients into two groups: one that had another five years and one that did not have another five years. Followed them we have got a 10-year follow-up now. We didn't see any difference back then.

So, this is getting everybody's attention. The answer is that we're going to personalize this depending on the circumstances of the original estrogen receptor-positive cancer.

Let me give you an example. Big tumor, multiple lymph nodes involved estrogen receptor-positive. Somebody like that has a really increased risk of the cancer coming back elsewhere in their body in the next ten years. So, I think that in somebody like that you are going to continue the Tamoxifen or the aromatase inhibitor, maybe, at least another five years. Patients, who are on stage 4, who are estrogen receptor-positive, are going to continue indefinitely.

Continuing 5 Years on Tamoxifen after Breast Cancer

Some of the small stage 1 may be under a centimeter in size, there's probably little value in continuing another five years of anti-hormonal therapy. So, I think, it needs to be individualized, and this will be what will come out of all of this.


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