Side effects of Tamoxifen?

Hello, I was diagnosed in May with BC and then had a WLE to remove what turned out to be a 15mm, Grade 1 tumour which had not spread. I’ve been told I now need additioal surgery to ensure a sufficient margin of healthy tissue around the tumour site, plus radiotherapy and Tamoxifen.

I discoverd just befoe the cancer diagnosis that I was pregnant. For many, complex reasons I am likely to have a termination, but one of the things that really distresses me is the thought of being pregnant and then a few short weeks later experiencing all the symptoms of the menopause.

How common are these side effects? And how awful are they?

I am really struggling with all this.

I can’t comment on who doesn’t get side effects, they are probably not posting here, but there are lots of us who suffer hot flushes from tamoxifen posting here. The severity seems to vary enormously. And for a lot of women the hot flushes subside over time, but for others they don’t - just pot luck really.

I can’t even imagine the emotions you must be going through and - having read your blog - I think I agree that you are seeking the “least worse” choice. I normally tell people my decision making process which is to identify which option I can live with today by discovering which option makes me feel sick and which doesn’t. I don’t believe that will help you, as I’m sure all the options are making you feel sick. I wish you all the strength in the world to take and live with this very tough decision.

In terms of Tamoxifen’s side-effects, I’ve probably not been taking it long enough yet, so can’t comment personally, but there are lots of threads on here about that subject. I know that I had already started to go through the menopause, so I’m unlikely to view any of the symptoms as - necessarily - being cancer-related. As RoadRunner says, you may not struggle with side effects or you may have them badly, unfortunately - as with all things cancer it seems - its impossible to forecast which it will be. I had my first severe pre-menopause symptoms when I was in my early 40s and believe my Mirena coil simply evened out the bumps from then to now. Perhaps if you viewed any side-effects as being “natural” rather than cancer-caused, they might feel easier to handle.

Good luck and hope things get easier for you.
Debs x

Thank you, Debs.

Today was a slightly better day, though I think that was because it was my last day at work and I was very busy. I have decided to stop working because, even though it has been a wonderful distraction, I can’t cope with it now that I am probably facing a termination, and definitely more surgery and radiotherapy (poss the new one-shot kind) in the next couple of weeks. I’m freelance, so it may well mean I have lost my job, which I love - something else that’s been taken away from me.

What a bloody nightmare this all is.