Recurrence Risk After Quitting Tamoxifen Treatment

Discover how quitting tamoxifen therapy early affects your risk of breast cancer recurrence.

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David A. Margileth, M.D.: There are now two trials looking at the utility of taking tamoxifen after lumpectomy and possibly radiation therapy for ductal carcinoma in situ.  It should be remembered that ductal carcinoma in situ has no potential to spread so that the use of tamoxifen has not resulted in any increased survival as one would expect.  However, it has resulted in decrease of further breast events either a new in situ cancer or an invasive cancer.

If one has been on tamoxifen for three and a half years in reality the additional benefit of the last year and a half of tamoxifen is probably fairly low probably on the order of 2%-3%.

So if I have a patient with in situ cancer who has gone 3-4 years on tamoxifen and for whatever reason wishes to discontinue the tamoxifen, I don’t think that is a huge adverse parameter for her future.

Dr. David A. Margileth practices medical oncology at St. Joesph Hospital in Orange, CA specializing in oncology, hematology, and internal medicine (board certified). His selected area of interest is breast cancer. Dr. Margileth graduated from Baylor College of Medicine in 1971 and has since spent time treating patients at the National Cancer Institute and Methodist Hospital in Houston, TX.

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