|Drug Treatment In Premenopausal Breast Cancer
Despite being one of the most common forms of cancer in women, breast cancer has a promising prognosis especially when diagnosed in the early stages. In order to ensure the removal of even microscopic tumor cells and to prevent reoccurrence of the disease, adjuvant therapy is recommended to patients after the surgical treatment of breast cancer.
The adjuvant endocrine therapy essentially aims at thwarting any form of stimulation of breast cancer cells from estrogen. In the case of pre-menopausal women, the therapy includes administration of either the drug tamoxifen or a drug or surgery that inhibits the production of estrogen by the ovaries.
The drug tamoxifen is prescribed to patients for a span of 5 years. Intake of this drug beyond this time period increases the risk of contracting uterine cancer, deep vein thrombosis and stroke. Other side effects associated to tamoxifen include hot flashes and vaginal discharge. However, since the drug is found to be an extremely potent measure of prevention against reoccurrence of breast cancer, therefore it is recommended despite its repercussions.
Ovarian suppression incorporates treatment that involves the stopping of estrogen production by the ovaries. This result can be obtained by the surgical removal of the ovaries, radiation treatment of the ovaries, or intake of drugs called gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists that inhibit the production of estrogen temporarily. For many women, chemotherapy may itself do the needful by causing premature menopause. The side effects of any procedure of ovarian suppression include hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings and vaginal dryness.
The subject of the best type of adjuvant endocrine therapy in pre-menopausal women with hormone responsive breast cancer is still under research. Therefore, it depends upon the patient and doctor to choose from the options available.
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