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Confused as to how it works.


Re: Confused as to how it works.

This is good to know . I was changed from arimidex to tamoxifen after a year, I was her+++. Due to a combination of my chemo brain and being a tad stupid about this kind of thing I never really understood what the tamoxifen really did and what to expect fertility wise.

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Re: Confused as to how it works.

Thanks Abismum, that explains it, I was going mad trying to work out how the BC cells would come back to get me if I had chemo. I am glad I decided to have chemo now (start Tues), the onc said that tamoxifen was my best weapon (cutting my 25% of recurrance by half) and the chemo would give another 3 - 5% and now that I know how the tamoxifen works I am glad I am having the chemo on top cos I had one lymph node of 9 with micro metastases so the chemo will give me a bit of reassurance that if any of the little suckers got through they will hopefully get wiped out.

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Re: Confused as to how it works.

Hi ostrich

I can see why you are confused and hope I can explain simply.

Tamoxifen blocks the oestrogen receptors and stops or slows down any er+ cells from growing. It will help prevent BC from starting in the remaining breast or in any residual tissue on the mx side ie. the skin. It does not prevent other unrelated cancers in other organs.

No treatment is 100% but hopefully the chemo does take care of any stray cells.

hope this helps

Best wishes

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Confused as to how it works.


I have a question that I can't figure the answer to.

If chemo is supposed to kill off any stray breast cancer cells floating around in my body how does the tamoxifen work if there aren't any BC cells left?

Does that mean that my body might grow some new BC cells further down the line after any current pre chemo ones have been killed and, because my BC cells like female hormones, they will grow faster if I don't turn my female hormones off by taking the tamoxifen?

If the answer is yes, how and where would those BC cells grow from/appear from then? Presumably not in my left breast because its now missing. Would they appear in my right breast because how would they be BC cells if they dont originate in my breast.

If not in my breast and those new BC cells could appear anywhere in my body would any growth, say in my kidney, be a BC secondary and hormone receptive?

Presumably "other" cancers are not female hormone receptive and the tamoxifen will only help to prevent me getting a secondary cancer from BC and not a primary, new and therefore unrelated cancer say in my kidney or are any cancer cells my body might make in the future likely to be hormone receptive?

Sorry this might be a bit confusing, just trying to work out the point of tamoxifen and how it works if chemo is supposed kill off any stray cells.

Hope someone can understand where my mind is rambling and answer my questions.