Treatment #3- Tamoxifen to block Estrogen Receptors
WE visited her Medical Oncologist today and informed him, that Nanay opted OUT of Chemotheraphy. As expected, the oncologist told us, that if she does not take chemo or Radiation, she will have a recurrence of breast cancer. We stood by my mother’s decision (knowing a few people in Singapore who still died of mestastic cancer after 2 years & 5 years battle with cancer using the most agressive Chemo plus Radio Theraphy Treatment plans).
A 40ish Woman who battled cancer with surgery, chemo and radiation–and died in 2 years time
A husband who lost his wife even if wife battled cancer with surgery, chemo and radiation– and died in 5 years time
A daugther who lost her mother to cancer despite surgery, chemo and radiation
The medical oncologist insited however, that Nanay, at least take medications (Tamoxifen), to block her Estregon Receptors, so that the Estrogen will not stick to the Cancer Cells, thereby denying the cancer cells of food. Same principle right? We restrict her diet from estrogen filled food so that there is minimum estrogen available for cancer cells to feed. Good to know that she is now post-menopausal, so that her ovaries have already stopped producing estrogen.
We are quite comfortable with Tamoxifen, so we agreed that she should take it once a day until the doctor tells her to stop taking it. Most patients, who undergo chemotheraphy, still has to take Tamoxifen for at least 5 years. So, we are assuming she will have to take this medication for the next 5 years or so.
Cost of Tamoxifen is only $10 a month. She was given enough Tamoxifen for the next 3 months, plus Vitamin D supplement, for better Calcium Absorption.
After 2 months, we will visit her Medical Oncologist again. After surgery, the conventional treatment options for Post-menopausal women with ER+ Breast Cancer that falls under High Risk category is either Option A: Tamoxifen only or Option B: Chemo plus Radiation Theraphy and Tamoxifen. My mother chose Option A" Tamoxifen only.
Why did my mother opted out of Chemo theraphy and Radiotheraphy (ChemoRx)?
1. she was informed by PBCN (Breast Cancer Advocacy Group) of the side effects of chemo. she does not want any of that
2. the oncologist way of explaining her chemo options lacked the concern or sensible data that we were looking for. He did not even explain the 2 options above (that my mother can just choose Tamoxifen only).
He said, if my mother will opt for the 1 year treatment plan, then the cost will be $55K SGD, if money was an issue, then she can just opt for the 6-8 month treatment plan, which will cost about $12K SGD. And if money is really really tight– then just opt for 4 cycles of AC- cost = $4.5 K SGD.
It was like he was asking us to make a decision — MONEY versus HEALTH. In my mind, if $55K SGD is what it takes to regain my mother’s health, I will knock on people’s door and knock on heaven’s door , BEG & Borrow to produce $55kSGD for that 1 year treatment plan (which includes AC, and Herceptin).
Until my mother, really stood her ground and said I do not like Chemo plus Rx, he did not talk about Tamoxifen as an option. In the end, he said, you should at least have Tamoxifen, with a stern reminder that the breast cancer will recur. So, he is really saying it was MONEY Versus HEALTH.
3. the information provided by PBCN, was validated by us through reading other books and through research.
4. the same oncologist confirmed that Radiation Theraphy can cause cancer in 20 years time. Then told my mother, "you are now 59 years old, do you think you will still be alive in 20 years time?". What a condescending attitude. My grandmother is still alive at 89 years old.!!
We left the clinic more convinced that CHEMO plus RX is not our choice of follow-up treatment.
Note: Estrogen Receptors are like "glue" that coats the cancer cells, to which estrogen sticks to. Estrogen is "food" for the cancer cells.