Tamoxifen – For Some Women, It’s A Poison They Cannot Swallow

August 12, 2011, I got a cell phone call while driving home from the mall— it was
Dr. Sims the other end— saying— 
“Lucinda you have breast cancer.” 

Words that I never wanted to hear. For a few moments I felt disoriented and like I had pushed the pause button on my life. Once I collected my thoughts— I told myself— “I’m going to search about everything I can on the type of breast cancer I have.” So while I was going for different tests— I would come home and do research.

Finally, I had my appointment with Dr.Sims my Oncologist. She informed me what the plan would be and after the chemo and radiation treatments, then I’d be on a cancer drug for five years.

After leaving her office I was ok with everything she said except— when she mentioned the chemo drug Tamoxifen. I could not get that word out of my mind— so I began my search to find out what ingredients were in it. I found the statement below but it still did not include the ingredients.

“We now know that Tamoxifen has some negative side effects, increasing hot flashes, mood swings, and most significantly, increasing blood clots and uterine cancer. The last two are pretty rare but significant.”

“When Tamoxifen is used in women with more advanced breast cancer, positive nodes or metastases, the benefits exceed these risks. However, for women with earlier stages, like DCIS or very small tumors, one does need to balance the benefits with the risks.”

“A woman should be able to have an objective discussion with her provider about the true benefits of Tamoxifen — is it 3% or 10% improvement — and then make an informed decision. Some women want to do everything, even if the benefit is small; others do not see it that way.”

For some women Tamoxifen is a safety net; for others, it is a poison they cannot swallow.” The other thing I remembered Dr. Sims saying to me was—  “Some women can not take Tamoxifen because of the side effects— but don’t worry, there are plenty of other medicines you can try.”

The ingredients found in Tamoxifen are:

  • anhydrous lactose
  • colloidal silicaon dioxide
  • crospovidone
  • magnesium stearate
  • microcrystallline cellulose
  • sodium lauryl sulfate

Well, that didn’t tell me much so I started digging deeper— to make a long story short, I refused to take Tamoxifen.


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