January 15th, 2015

The Challenges Presented by Breast Cancer Survivors taking Antihormone Medication

Breast Cancer affects 1 in 9 Irish women and there are currently 2,883 new cases diagnosed annually1. With early detection and an increasing number of effective therapies, more women than ever are surviving breast cancer. Therapies such as Tamoxifen and Aromatase Inhibitors reduce the risk of recurrence by up to 50%2. These treatments may be used for up to 10 years3 and may result in long term side-effects.

Side-effects are similar to menopause (hot flushes, mood swings, depression, libido, vaginal dryness, weight gain) and less commonly endometrial cancer and embolic events4. Treatment may also cause arthralgias, osteoporosis and osteoporotic fractures5. For some women, their quality of life is adversely affected, resulting in non-adherence to treatment2. Often these side-effects are inadequately managed and support from healthcare professionals is limited6.

  1. National Cancer Registry, 2016
  2. Cahir et al. 2015
  3. Goss, 2016
  4. Pellegrini et al. 2010
  5. Kyvernitakis et al. 2014
  6. van Zandbergen et al. 2010