Thanks for posting.
It’s understandable that you are anxious about being offered a treatment you have had previously, especially if your recent scans showed that the disease in your bones is stable and the docetaxel chemotherapy you recently finished had helped.
Hormone therapy such as tamoxifen can be used to treat breast cancer that is stimulated by the hormone oestrogen(ER+), that has spread to another part of the body (secondary breast cancer). It can be given either alone or alongside other treatments, depending on what treatments you had before.
It’s not uncommon to consider using a drug that may have been used in your treatment before to ‘re challenge’ the cancer. However, it’s important to point out that not all drugs used in breast cancer can be offered twice. A choice between treatments will depend on a person’s previous treatment history and their response and tolerance to that treatment.
It’s not possible for us to comment on individual situations, your treatment team will be best placed to talk through the most appropriate treatment options for you. It sounds as though it would be helpful to talk through your concerns about tamoxifen with your breast care nurse or treatment team. They will be able to explain the reasons for offering this to you and the likely benefit compared to further chemotherapy. Trying a hormone therapy again as a treatment option also gives you an opportunity of a break from the side effects of chemotherapy treatment.
Having ongoing treatment for breast cancer can impact on you emotionally and physically, also living with the uncertainty a diagnosis of secondary breast cancer brings can also be difficult to cope with.
We provide a number of different services for people living with secondary breast cancer aimed at providing both information and support.
Our helpline team are here for anyone diagnosed with secondary breast cancer. They have time to listen to your concerns, talk things through and signpost you to more support and information.
At times like this, some people find it helpful to talk with others who are going through a similar experience. We have a secondary breast cancer online discussion forum for sharing information and support. There is also a weekly Live chat session which runs on Tuesdays at 8.30-9.30pm.
Both services allow people to talk over their experiences and offer support to each other.
Outside of the current coronavirus situation, our face to face Living with Secondary Breast Cancer monthly sessions also give you the chance to meet and share experiences with other people who understand what you’re going through because they’re going through it too.
However, we’ve had to take the difficult decision to suspend all of our face-to-face services until the end of June 2020, following the latest government guidance regarding coronavirus.
The Helpline, Ask Our Nurses, Living with Secondary Breast Cancer Live Chat and online Forum support services are all still running as usual. If you have any questions please email NRC@breastcancernow.org.
Do call our Helpline if you would like to talk this through or have any further questions. Your call will be confidential, and the number is free from UK landlines and all mobile networks.
The number is 0808 800 6000 (Text relay prefix 18001).
Our opening hours are Monday to Friday 9am - 4pm and 9am -1pm on Saturday. Out of hours you can leave a message and we will call you back when we next open.
Breast Cancer Now Nurse
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Hi there, I have been diagnosed 4 years ago, have been on a number of treatments, recently on Docetaxol, which helped but the last scan results show that some of my liver mets have shrunk, while there are a few new ones. Bones are stable. My doctor thinks we might fool the cancer for a while with tamoxifen, which was my line of treatment 3 years ago after the initial chemo, as the cancer has not seen it for a while she is hoping that it will respond. Isn't that a waste of time? Do not get me wrong I do not want a new chemoterapy as I still feel tired emotionally mainly, but I think that it is all about decisions and I find it really difficult to make them.