I am a 48 year old female who had a mastectomy in May due to DCIS. Was advised to take tamoxifen, but haven't started to take as of yet. Am worried about all of the side effects and am wondering if it will be helful to me since I had a hysterectomy in 1996. Have talked to several women who had same surgery years ago and were never placed on hormone therapy and are doing fine. Would really rather not take Tamoxifen if possible. Any advice?
Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS) is a noninvasive carcinoma. The cancer cells are confined to the ductal structures. DCIS can be treated by: excision (lumpectomy or breast conserving surgery) plus radiotherapy to the breast, excision alone, or mastectomy. Tamoxifen may or may not be given after surgery. There is currently no consensus regarding the optimal treatment of DCIS.
There was a clinical trial called NSABP B-24 where Tamoxifen was given after lumpectomy and radiotherapy which showed a decrease in ipsilateral local recurrence, contralateral breast cancer, and all breast cancer events. Here is the link of the said clinical trial: http://www.breastcancerupdate.com/oncology_leader/morrow/nsabp_role_tamoxifen.html#nsabpb24roletamox
However, in another trial called UK DCIS trial, there was no statistically significant difference in the rate of ipsilateral local recurrence, contralateral breast cancer, and all breast cancer events with the addition of tamoxifen after surgery and radiation therapy.
You need to discuss with your oncologist your treatment options, weighing the risks and benefits of treatment.
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