According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 40,000 women are estimated to die of breast cancer in 2013. Breast cancer is the most common cancer with women. Though, the exact etiology of cancer is unknown, we have certain risk factors that increase the possibility of a woman getting this cancer. These include age, genetics, being overweight, and lifestyle. Taking birth control pills is also associated with having breast cancer, though, this is not proven yet.
Early detection is the key for a good prognosis with this disease condition. Self-breast examination is recommended to be done by women in a monthly basis for early detection of any lumps. Mammography, a diagnostic tool used primarily to detect these lumps, is recommended yearly for women aged 40 years old and above especially those who have genetic predisposition. Mammograms are excellent screening tool for breast cancer. However, the results of mammogram should be correlated with breast exam and your health history.
How is breast cancer treated? It can be treated by radiation, surgery, and chemotherapeutic drugs, and hormone therapy. Usually a combination of this treatment modalities works best.
Tamoxifen citrate, an anti-estrogen, is used in treating breast cancer. It is used as a hormonal therapy. Tamoxifen citrate prevents estrogen from binding in the receptors found on breast cells. Estrogen, a female hormone produced by the ovaries, is said to be associated with the growth of some of breast cancer cells specifically those that has receptors for estrogen.
As an adjunct treatment, Tamoxifen citrate helps reduce the risk of reoccurrence of the cancer for women who already have undergone surgery such as mastectomy, radiation and chemotherapy treatments.Tamoxifen citrate is also used to lessen the risk of breast cancer in women who has a higher predisposition for the disease due to their age, hereditary history, and other predisposing conditions.
Tamoxifen citrate is to be taken by mouth in a tablet form. Do not split, chew, or crush the tablets, instead, swallow the tablets whole with water.
Take tamoxifen citrate at the same time each day to maintain blood levels of the medication. It is typically taken once or twice a day with or without meals. Tamoxifen citrate should be used as directed by the physician. Do not change your dose without consulting your doctor first.
If you are taking tamoxifen citrate to prevent the occurrence of breast cancer, you will be taking it for five years. However, if you are taking tamoxifen citrate as a treatment for breast cancer, your doctor will be the one to decide how long the treatment will be. Do not stop taking tamoxifen citrate without the knowledge of your doctor.
Just like any other medication, tamoxifen has its own set of side effects. What are common side effects of tamoxifen? Side effects of this drug includes hot flashes, nausea, excessive tiredness, dizziness, depression, and headache. It can even increase the risk for liver cancer and this should be taken cautiously with patients who have high cholesterol levels. Talk to your doctor about these risk factors. Benefits should outweigh your risks.