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Naturopathic Medicine Blog

Tamoxifen Side Effects Problems and Solutions

Posted Jun 27th, 2021 in Acupuncture, Naturopathic Medicine, News, Tips

Tamoxifen is an essential Estrogen receptor blocker that is commonly used in Premenopausal Women with Breast Cancer who have Estrogen Receptors Positive Breast Cancer to Prevent Recurrence or Spread of Breast Cancer. Blocking the Estrogen Receptors prevent Cancer Cells from being activated by the Estrogen Hormone and hence improves Breast Cancer Disease-Free and Overall Survival Rates as proved by  Oncology Research in the last 5 decades. This article will discuss Tamoxifen's Side Effects Problems and Solutions.

 

The long-term use of Tamoxifen for Breast Cancer is not without side effects, so in addition to the common side effects such as hot flushes, sweating and vaginal dryness, other less common side effects happen as well such as Weight Gain, Irregular menstrual Periods, Leg Swelling and Skin Rash.

During my over 20 years of practice as a medical and radiation oncologist in the Middle East, before I moved to Canada, I have witnessed many  Women with Breast Cancer who declined to take Tamoxifen for Breast Cancer Care whether this was prescribed for adjuvant treatment (after Surgery and Radiation for Breast Cancer) or as a treatment for Locally advanced Disease (Neoadjuvant Treatment) or Metastatic Disease, mainly because of the lack of tolerance to Tamoxifen or even because they heard about its side effects. In these situations, the Oncologist usually spends a lot of time explaining the importance of starting the Tamoxifen for improving the Breast Cancer Survival and Control Rates and advising the patient to tolerate the moderate side effects of Tamoxifen, however, if these side effects are so severe (especially Night Sweats and Heat that may lead to Insomnia and Lack of Energy), the doctors usually advise a mild antidepressant to reduce the vascular effects of Tamoxifen.

Recently, a group of Gastroenterologists from the department of Medicine in Korea published a Scientific Research in July  2020 in PLOS ONE Journal about a new discovery of another side effect of Tamoxifen which is Fatty Liver. In their Research, 911 Women were included all had Breast Cancer, and they were classified into 3 groups a group who received Tamoxifen for more than 2 years, a group who received Aromatase Inhibitor (Letrozole) for 2 years (Another Hormone Treatment for Breast Cancer With a different mechanism than Tamoxifen) and the Third Group were not receiving any Hormonal Treatment.

The study was conducted over 10 years from 2007 – 2017, during this study period, the Fatty status of the liver was assessed by CT scan and Or Abdominal Ultrasound. It was found that patients in the Tamoxifen group had a significantly higher incidence of Fatty Liver as compared to the other groups. So, it was concluded that the long-term use of Tamoxifen (at least 2 years) was associated with a high incidence of Fatty Liver.

For more information about this Research, you can check this link file:///C:/Users/cance/OneDrive/Desktop/Scientific/Textbooks%20and%20research%20in%20oncology/Tamoxifen%20side%20effects/pone.0236506.pdf 

 

Naturopathic Medicine and Cancer Care:

In Naturopathic Medicine many measures can be taken to avoid/minimize the side effects of Conventional Oncology Treatments that include Tamoxifen as well. Knowing that Tamoxifen blocks the Estrogen Receptors to be an efficient tool to fight Breast Cancer, Introducing Naturopathic Measures to Reduce the side effects from Estrogen blocking can potentially mitigate the suffering from these effects. These measures include, but are not limited to starting an anti-inflammatory diet to minimize inflammation of the body, giving some Natural Supplements that mnimize  the side effects without counteracting the effects of Tamoxifen for Breast Cancer. Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture is another effective way to reduce the side effects of Tamoxifen Therapy.

 

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