Related Topics: Breast Cancer, Opinion, Treatments

What the Newspapers Don’t Tell You About Breast Cancer

Preventative drugs to ward off breast cancer are getting publicity but nobody is talking about the associated risks.

AnnA Rushton

Avoiding breast cancer is something every woman wants to do, but a new recommendation has come forward that suggests that women at risk of breast cancer could be given a daily dose of pills to ward off the disease. What isn’t mentioned are the risks.

The recommendation comes from an expert review published in the journal Lancet Oncology. It recommends all women with a greater than 4 per cent above average risk of developing breast cancer in the next ten years should be offered preventative drugs and closer monitoring. At present there are 44,000 new cases of breast cancer every year but this new initiative would equate to one in ten women being offered drug treatment and could double the number of women over 50 advised to take preventative action. In reality this means the drug Tamoxifen which is already linked to serious health risks.

Of course any women at serious risk needs to take every precaution, but this new trend of ‘preventive’ health care which has also seen women prescribed HRT as a ‘preventive’ for symptoms of menopause is not one I can endorse. This sounds perilously like the policy that has seen the widespread prescription of statins to people who may be at risk of heart problems, but are certainly at risk of the side effects of being on a continuous drug regime for a condition they may not have.

Women with higher than average odds of breast tumours already have access to regular checks and some are given drugs to cut their chances of contracting the disease and in extreme cases are offer both mastectomies and hysterectomies. But these are extreme cases, and Tamoxifen in trials has shown that it may reduce the risk of the most common kind of breast cancer by around a third in women of the highest vulnerability. These women know the price they will pay for having breast cancer and that treatment may be appropriate for them but to extend out to less vulnerable women a drug that has raised doubts in many is not a good idea in my view .

The known, serious side effects of tamoxifen are blood clots, strokes, uterine cancer and cataracts, and less serious side effects are similar to the symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes and vaginal discharge. Tamoxifen is licensed in the U.S. but is not widely used, mainly due to concern about potential side-effects, and an inability to predict cancer risk accurately.

A more natural approach includes using natural hormones such as progesterone which counteracts and balances estrogen’s potentially carcinogenic effect, going on an anti-cancer diet, having a healthy weight and taking more exercise. Dr Tony Coope, who works extensively with natural hormones in his practice, had this comment to make on the practice of taking these preventive drugs for cancer:

“There are several problems with this approach, part of a trend in medicine that I think is very counter-productive. Firstly, there is the focus on intervening at this level with drugs which have known and serious side effects, when there are bio-identical alternatives that perform this function more efficiently, at lower cost, and without harmful side effects.

Secondly, it distracts us from exploring the root cause of the problem, which is at the level of the unconscious, the storehouse of beliefs and attitudes that create our perception of the world we live in, and drive the mutations and expression of our genes.

As Dr Vincent Felitti of San Diego has commented, a person unfamiliar with fire would be initially tempted to treat the smoke, – the most visible aspect of the problem. Fortunately for us our fire departments have learned to distinguish cause and effect long ago; if they hadn’t, they would be using fans instead of water hoses.

Unfortunately in modern medicine it seems that we are still often investing in fans.”

I couldn’t agree more, and although it may have seemed prudent to our ancestors to have all their teeth removed to prevent any future toothache, I had thought we had moved on from this blunderbuss approach.

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Comments 4
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AnnA Rushton | 10:26 am, June 18th, 2019

Annabel Please email for individual help with your symptoms as there is help for women on Tamoxifen with bioidentical progesterone to help with the side effects.

Annabel Richardson | 4:53 pm, June 4th, 2019

I was diagnosed with grade 2 multi focal breast cancer. Wide lump excision, dose dense AC chemotherapy and a trial on graduated more targeted radiotherapy then tamoxifen treatment for 10 years. I was pre menopausal when diagnosed in October 2014. 6 days after my 50th birthday.
The side effects from chemo are still the stuff of nightmares. No one tells you about the pain you have when losing your hair, eyelashes and eyebrows. It is constant. The inability to face your favourite food or drink as it tastes awful was another side effect no one told me about.
Tamoxifen where do I start, I’m just going to list them in severity
Hot Sweats, yes you heard me right, hot sweats almost debilitating when they start. Sweating like you’ve done a serious cardio work out when in reality you’re just watching telly. Dripping off your face and hair. The whole body flushes as well to compliment the dripping is a reddened torso. This has serious mental health problems and Agoraphobia became rife. Being treated for these currently.
Night sweats hot flushes sleep deprivation and psychosis all manifested in the first 3 years of taking Tamoxifen.
My eyes have gone from long vision to cant see without glasses in 4 years. Weight gain 4.5 stone gained. The tablets have NO CALORIES 1 Dr told me, like I was eating my weight in cream buns every day. Also lethargy and fatigue are also high on the negative side. Brain fog, they promised me this would get better, it hasn’t. My Thyroid packed up working as well so now my cocktail of drugs to keep me alive currently is standing at 12 per day.
If I was diagnosed today and offered the treatments I had and continue to take, I would without any shadow of a doubt refuse it.
I finished my treatment May 22nd 2015 and have had my 4th year clear of breast cancer.
The treatment is not worth the quality of life you have while on it and definitely not worth the side effects of Tamoxifen.
If I hadn’t promised my 2 beautiful daughters I’d do whatever they told me to, I’d stop taking it. Nothing is really worth the quality versus quantity of life I live today. Depression PTSD and anxiety from the treatments have left a shell of the bubbly personality that I was.
The treatment in my mind is worse than the disease.
This is ONLY MY OPINION it may not be yours. We are all entitled to our opinion and 1 does not demean another.

Seif | 1:22 pm, August 11th, 2012

60 or 70 years ago Trichinosis from home grown pork was sometimes a cocrenn. Commercially grown and processed pork today is trichinosis free. Actually, cooking pork to an even grey color always killed off trichinosis no matter what era it was from. When I was but a sprog, we raised most of our own small meat critters, turkeys, ducks, chickens, rabbits and the odd guinea hen, they make wonderful watch critters, they’re very territorial and raise general and particular hell if an interloper show his, her or its face. They’re also delicious. It seems to me I remember the dark feathered turkeys could watch out for themselves, but the albino birds were stupider than hemlock stumps, no offense to hemlock stumps intended. I often compare the relative intelligence of politicians to hemlock stumps. The stumps almost always come out ahead by a comfortable margin. At least when a stump takes a position, it maintains it.

Notwen | 10:59 am, August 11th, 2012

Taxotere can and DOES cause permanent hasilors which you keep hushed up. You offer this drug for primary breast cancer not too.Why dont you just come clean and inform oncologists about this side effect that you say you dont keep records of? You are supposed to keep this info for as long as the drug is used so why are you acting illegally or lying?

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