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Increased risk for breast cancer? Increased risk for breast cancer?

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Unread 10-24-2005, 08:05 PM
Increased risk for breast cancer?

I had a TAH/BSO for early endometrial cancer in August 2004. No chemo or radiation needed. I have a history of atypical hyperplasia in my breast. My gyn/oncologist was not concerned about my risk for breast cancer, even though I have a sister who was diagnosed with DCIS. Today, I went to a medical oncologist who said I'm very high risk and prescribed Tamoxifen. After reading about Tamoxifen, I'm terrified to take it. I'm so confused now, I don't know what to do. Any suggestions?
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Unread 10-24-2005, 11:13 PM
Increased risk for breast cancer?


This is a difficult question, but a very good one for women with a diagnosis of gyn cancer and history of breast issues.

I would agree that for any woman diagnosed with a gyn cancer, that breast cancer screening should be considered/performed. Especially if there is a family history of breast lesions in a first degree relative (mom/sister).

The question though, is what do you do about it?

I think I would discuss the tamoxifen issue with your gyn/onc as well. Tamoxifen has mixed estrogen properties- it both stimulates and inhibits estrogen receptors, and estrogen receptors are present on endometrial/uterine tissue as well as breast tissue. I suspect that since your endometrial cancer was an early one- stage 1A, that your gyn/onc may not be too concerned about using a medication that has estrogen promoting effects because you should be free of any residual endometrial cancer, i.e. you are "cured", not too much worry that the estrogen effects will cause a recurrence because they suspect you have no more cancer cells in you. Nevertheless, I would run this by him/her.

Were any other treatment options discussed for your breast disease? What about meeting with a genetic specialist to better assess your chances of breast cancer given your family history with your sister? If it were me, I think I may want to know what exactly my chances are of breast cancer down the road, and what options exist to help treat things now. Is your oncologist a breast specialist? Maybe a specialist opinion might be useful as well to consider. (I usually err on the side of getting lots of opinions as you can see! But I think making an informed decision is key.)

Please let us know what you learn. I think this is a very important issue for all of us.

Take care.
Unread 10-24-2005, 11:36 PM
Increased risk for breast cancer?

Hi moodysue I think your confusion is understandable. Like (((millie))), I am a big fan of getting additional opinions, especially if something doesn't seem quite right.

For example... as you had a BSO, why Tamoxifen? Why not Arimidex, which has a slightly better track record, and is meant for women who are postmenopausal? Or, are you on estrogen-containing HRT? That might explain the preference for Tamoxifen.

I was diagnosed with DCIS (and LCIS) last year, and had a lumpectomy with clear margins. Did not have to do radiation. I started on Tamoxifen at the advice of the first oncologist I saw... but the side effects were so severe that I could not stay on it. There's more on this thread about my experience with it:

I ended up discontinuing it and doing a lot more research, plus seeing another oncologist. The net result is that I am still on my HRT's and taking DIM (diindolylmethane), which is an OTC aromatase inhibitor derived from broccoli, and so far I am doing just fine.

There are some great links to information about breast cancer over in our Resources directory. Just click on the Resources tab at the left and scroll down and click on Breast Cancer to get there.

Good luck with your decision!

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Unread 10-25-2005, 07:27 AM
Increased risk for breast cancer?

moodysue, In November '02 I was diagnosed with DCIS. I'm nearly three years into my five years of Tamoxifen. Only mild side effects. No serious problems at all. Reaction to it varies much from person to person.

Mary D.

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