Since its approval in 1998, tamoxifen has been used to treat millions of women and men diagnosed with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. While an aromatase inhibitor is the first hormonal therapy medicine choice for postmenopausal women, tamoxifen is the first choice for premenopausal women and is still a good choice for postmenopausal women who can’t take an aromatase inhibitor.
- reduce the risk of breast cancer coming back by 40% to 50% in postmenopausal women and by 30% to 50% in premenopausal women
- reduce the risk of a new cancer developing in the other breast by about 50%
- shrink large, hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers before surgery
- slow or stop the growth or advanced (metastatic) hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer in both pre- and postmenopausal women
- lower breast cancer risk in women who have a higher-than-average risk of disease but have not been diagnosed
Tamoxifen offers other health benefits that aren’t related to treating cancer. Because it’s a SERM, it selectively either blocks or activates estrogen’s action on specific cells. While tamoxifen blocks estrogen’s action on breast cells, it activates estrogen’s action in bone and liver cells. So tamoxifen can:
- help stop bone loss after menopause
- lower cholesterol levels
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