Post cancer treatment side effects

Started Tamoxifen 4 months ago after finishing chemo and have been experiencing monthly flare ups of what can consist of - nausea, vomiting, lower back ache, Urinary frequency. I have tried topical oestrogen but has anyone tried the HRT vaginal pessaries ? Any suggestions welcome as I’m at my wits end. Thanks x

Hi Kate

I’m afraid I can’t help you with Tamoxifen. I’m in the anastrozole brigade. But having blamed it for all my woes, I came off it for 4 and 6 weeks with not a jot of improvement. So I guess not everything has an obvious cause.

Have you asked to consult with your oncologist? Do you know lack of oestrogen is the cause? And if it is, is it safe for you to try oestrogen products if the whole point is to stop oestrogen production? I know loss of oestrogen is rubbish (I went through menopause before I got to breast cancer world) but you have to weigh up the inconveniences against the risks of a recurrence.

Your consultant might suggest a break to see if Tamoxifen is the cause or may suggest an alternative drug. But I do think it’s essential you work with your oncologist rather than going by our experiences when our cancers are all so very different.

What I also want to say is don’t give up on this. I am a walking, talking, breathing mess of side effects (well, maybe not so much walking as hobbling in pain) and right now all consultations are being done over the phone. Without a physical examination (after the second wave?), why should we resign ourselves to a life of misery?

Breast Cancer Haven is offering free online courses and sessions during the pandemic and I have seen one on EFT for pain management and nausea, if that interests you.

All the best, Jan x