The breast cancer you had was oestrogen receptor positive, that means it was being fuelled or 'fed' by the hormone oestrogen.
The tablet you have been prescribed will either block the oestrogen receptors on breast cancer cells (Tamoxifen) or decrease the amount of oestrogen the body makes (Anastrozole, Letrozole, Exemestane).
Take your tablet at the same time every day - you can choose when.
If you forget to take it, take it as soon as you remember, unless it is two to three hours before your next dose; do not take a double dose.
Endocrine therapy is used to try to stop the growth of breast cancer and can help prevent it coming back - it is therefore important that you keep taking it.
Taking these tablets can cause side-effects; these normally improve within a few months.
Managing these side-effects, by using these tips, will hopefully make you feel in control of these.
General endocrine assistance
- Macmillan website: Hormonal therapy for breast cancer
- Breast Cancer Now website: Hormone (endocrine) therapy
These are the Endocrine drugs we use for treating breast cancer; these pages will give you a general overview of the drug, how it works and the possible side-effects.
The side-effects can be varied, below are a list of a few of these, the links are suggestions of where you can get help and support for these.
You can, of course, speak to your Breast CNS Team.
Joint aches and pains
Please contact the Breast CNS team if you have unexpected vaginal bleeding.
If you experience any of these, please contact NHS 111, your GP or the specialist team immediately:
- Pain, redness/discolouration, heat and swelling of the calf, leg or thigh
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness in the chest
- Unexplained cough (you may cough up blood)
A lack of oestrogen can cause osteoporosis; you will be monitored for this whilst on certain Endocrine treatments.
- Breast Cancer Now website: Menopausal symptoms and breast cancer
- Macmillan website: Menopausal symptoms and cancer treatment
This is a common side-effect of your Hormone treatment, one that is rarely talked about!
- NHS website: Vaginal dryness
- Royal United Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust website: Management of vaginal dryness and breast cancer
Reduced libido is another common side-effect of your treatment… don’t suffer in silence!
- BreastCancer.org website: Solutions for Libido Loss: Arousal
- Macmillan website: The body and sex
- Breast Cancer Now website: Your body, intimacy and sex (BCC110)
- Breast Cancer Now website: Cancer-related fatigue (extreme tiredness)
- Macmillan website: Coping with fatigue (tiredness)
- Breast Cancer Care: Struggling to sleep after breast cancer treatment:
Hot flushes and night sweats
Stress, anxiety and mood changes
- Breast Cancer Now website: Low mood and depression after a breast cancer diagnosis
- Macmillan website: Depression
- Breast Cancer Now website: 10 ways to overcome anxiety: when worry gets out of control
To help with possible weight gain, feeling of well-being, fatigue and many of the side-effects.
- NHS website: What is a Mediterranean diet?
- NHS website: The Eatwell Guide
- Macmillan website: Healthy eating and cancer
Exercise can help with general well-being, low mood and depression, joint aches and pains
- NHS website: Exercise
- Macmillan website: Diet, exercise and physical health
- Breast Cancer Now website: Exercise and breast cancer
- Everyday Health website: The best exercises for menopause symptoms
- W5Physio website: Exercise for the menopause
Support Groups, either face-to-face, online or by telephone can make a big difference to tolerating your treatment.
- Macmillan website: Online community
- Cancer Research UK website: Cancer chat
- Instagram: Aurora Breast Cancer Wellbeing (group for young women with breast cancer)
- Maggie's website
- Penny Brohn UK website
The use of complementary therapies, alongside your treatment can greatly help you cope with the side-effects
Apps for your phone
- Becca: Breast cancer support
- Mindfulness.com: Meditation app
- Balance: Menopause support
- Balance: Meditation and sleep
- Evia: Hot flushes and menopause
- Calm: Sleep and meditation
- Nuna: Mental health companion
- My Fitness Pal
Breast CNS Team
Tel: 01793 604340