Advice on stopping tamoxifen after 10 years

Hi, I have moved around a lot since my initial treatment and have no oncological contact/support and my new GP just prescribes tamoxifen on auto repeat prescription. They also appear to have little knowledge on when/how I should stop. Assuming the advice is still 10 years should I just stop in June and stop renewing prescriptions? Feel a bit adrift. Thanks.

Hello hilaryj

Thanks for posting.

It’s understandable you are now feeling a bit lost as you have moved around a lot and feel you have little support.

The recommended length of time that tamoxifen is taken for will vary according to individual situations. People being treated for primary breast cancer will usually take tamoxifen for between five and ten years.

Clinical trials have demonstrated some people benefit from taking tamoxifen for 10 years rather than five. These benefits include a smaller risk of the breast cancer coming back (recurrence) or of developing cancer in the other breast, and of dying from breast cancer.

You won’t need to stop taking tamoxifen gradually and you can usually stop renewing your prescription when 10 years are up. It might help to know tamoxifen will continue to reduce the risk of breast cancer coming back for some time after you finish your treatment. This is known as the carry over effect.

Adapting to life after treatment can be difficult and often the need for information and support continues. Do call our helpline if you would like to talk this through or have any further questions. The helpline team have time to listen, talk things through and signpost you to more support and information if necessary. Your call will be confidential, and the number is free from UK landlines and all mobile networks. The number is 0808 800 6000, (Relay UK - prefix 18001).

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Best wishes


Breast Care Nurse

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