“Deborah agreed to take part in a trial as she was keen to help other cancer patients in the future. "If taking part in a trial means others might be helped then I’m very happy with that."
A study of women’s experiences of taking tamoxifen
This study looked at the experiences of women who were taking tamoxifen. The study was for women who have had breast cancer and were currently taking tamoxifen or had recently stopped.
More about this trial
Women whose breast cancer tests positive for
Tamoxifen is a tablet that you take every day. Most women take it for 5 years, and some may take it for longer. This helps to help reduce the risk of the cancer coming back. But despite the benefits of taking tamoxifen many women stop taking it early.
Researchers have done studies to understand why women stop taking their tamoxifen early. But these have mainly focused on medical reasons, such as the relationship between the women and their doctor or the side effects of tamoxifen. Other studies have looked at whether the age of the women is a reason.
In this study the researchers wanted to look at the beliefs and knowledge women had about tamoxifen. The researchers wanted to find out how this influenced women’s decision to continue taking tamoxifen or not.
Summary of results
- 746 women who returned the questionnaire they had been sent
- 6 questionnaires that had no information about where they had come from
- 61 women who were recruited online
- 73 women were removed because they had stopped taking tamoxifen
- experience of menopausal symptoms
- personal information
- social support
- more than 8 out of 10 women (84%) had hot flushes
- 8 out of 10 of the women (80%) in the study had experienced night sweats
- 6 out of 10 (60%) said that the hot flushes and night sweats were moderate or severe
- symptoms didn’t get better with time, for most women they continued throughout the 5 years of treatment and
- 6 out of 10 of the women (60%) thought that the tamoxifen caused the symptoms
- women were twice as likely to have hot flushes and night sweats if they had had chemotherapy, were employed or had any depressive symptoms
- other symptoms the women reported included joint pain, loss of libido, weight gain, mood swings and vaginal symptoms such as dryness, itching and discharge
- have had chemotherapy
- are working
- put the side effects down to taking tamoxifen
- have symptoms of depression
How to join a clinical trial
Dr Lyndsay Hughes
Breast Cancer Now
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer