As soon as my radiation treatments are over, I will be taking a pill called Tamoxifen daily for five years. This is to combat the estrogen receptors that are attached to my cancer and will block estrogen in my body. This is why I won’t be able to get pregnant for the next five years. The Tamoxifen not only blocks estrogen, which is a necessary hormone during pregnancy, it can also cause birth defects. My fertility issues are also impacted by the chemo, which has so far caused early menopause (possibly reversible down the road). Below is an over of hormone therapy and Tamoxifen (source: www.breastcancer.org)
Hormonal therapy medicines treat hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers in two ways:
- by lowering the amount of the hormone estrogen in the body
- by blocking the action of estrogen in the body
Most of the estrogen in women’s bodies is made by the ovaries. Estrogen makes hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers grow. So reducing the amount of estrogen or blocking its action can help shrink hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers and reduce the risk of hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers coming back (recurring).
Tamoxifen (Nolvadex®) is a drug, taken orally as a tablet, which interferes with the activity of estrogen, a female hormone. Estrogen can promote the development of cancer in the breast. Tamoxifen is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the prevention of breast cancer and for the treatment of breast cancer, as well as other types of cancer.
Tamoxifen has been used for more than 30 years to treat breast cancer in women and men. Tamoxifen is used to treat patients with early-stage breast cancer, as well as those with metastatic breast cancer (cancer that has spread to other parts of the body). As adjuvant therapy (treatment given after the primary treatment to increase the chances of a cure), tamoxifen helps prevent the original breast cancer from returning and also helps prevent the development of new cancers in the other breast. As treatment for metastatic breast cancer, the drug slows or stops the growth of cancer cells that are present in the body.
Tamoxifen has been used for almost 10 years to reduce the risk of breast cancer in women who are at increased risk of developing breast cancer. Tamoxifen is also used to treat women with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), a noninvasive condition that sometimes leads to invasive breast cancer.