This morning, my oncologist tasked me with making my hormone therapy choice.
I’ve been reading the horrors of Tamoxifen so I perked right up when I heard the word “choice”.
Here are my options:
5 years of Tamoxifen
Tamoxifen is a 33 year old and very contraversial drug which is either a life-saver or a menace, depending what you read.
Its known side effects include: blood clots, stroke, uterine cancer, endometrial cancer, shortness of breath, weakness, tingling, or numbness in your face, arm, or leg, difficulty speaking or understanding, vision problems, dizziness, increased tumor or bone pain, hot flashes, nausea, fatigue, mood swings, depression, headache, hair thinning, constipation, dry skin, loss of libido, weight gain, cognitive dysfunction, sexual dysfunction and more. Super Scary.
A 5 year Randomized Clinical Trial SOFT: Suppression of Ovarian Function Trial (IBCSG 24-02)
If I chose this option, I would be randomly selected to receive one of the following:
- Tamoxifen (see huge side-effect list, above)
- Tamoxifen (see above) and Triptorelin (a drug that will suppress ovarian functioning and induce menopause with its own slew of side effects )
- Exemestane (an aromatase inhibitor) and Triptorelin (see above)
Apparently Exemestane has been shown to be 2-4% more effective in decreasing recurrence and spread of breast cancer in post-menopausal women. Unfortunately, its side effects are, anecdotally, much more severe than Tamoxifen’s. Super-Duper scary.
And don’t even ask what’s behind door number 3. I made that mistake.
I guess being a chubby, depressed, moody, sexually dysfunctional air-head beats being dead…
If I don’t get the deadlier side effects, that is.
As my good friend Mary would say, awesome.