Navigation Links
Side Effects Cause Many Older Women to Drop Breast Cancer Drugs

MONDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Severe side effects may be key to why so many older breast cancer patients stop taking drugs that can help prevent a tumor's return, a new study finds.

The research also revealed a large gap between what these breast cancer patients tell their doctors about drug side effects and what they actually experience, according to the study authors from Northwestern University in Chicago.

Their study included 686 postmenopausal women with estrogen-sensitive breast cancer who were asked about their symptoms before treatment with estrogen-blocking drugs called aromatase inhibitors, which include medications such as Arimidex, Aromasin and Femara. The women were tracked at three, six, 12 and 24 months after starting treatment.

After three months, about one-third of the patients had severe joint pain, 28 to 29 percent had hot flashes, nearly one-quarter had decreased libido, 15 to 24 percent had fatigue, 16 to 17 percent had night sweats and 14 to 17 percent had anxiety, the investigators found.

Other symptoms included weight gain, breast sensitivity, mood swings, and feeling bloated, irritable and nauseous.

The number of women who experienced drug side effects rose the longer treatment continued, the investigators noted.

As a result of the side effects, 36 percent of the patients stopped treatment before an average of just over four years, the researchers said. Of this group, 10 percent had quit after two years and the remainder quit between 25 months and about four years.

Patients most likely to stop taking the drugs before the recommended five years were those who still had residual side effects from recent chemotherapy or radiation therapy when they started taking the aromatase inhibitors.

Those most likely to continue taking the drugs included women who had surgery for breast cancer but not chemotherapy or radiation therapy, and those who weren't taking many other medications, the results indicated.

The study was presented Friday at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

"Clinicians consistently underestimate the side effects associated with treatment," lead investigator Lynne Wagner, an associate professor in medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a clinical psychologist at Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, said in a university news release.

"[Doctors] give patients a drug they hope will help them, so they have a motivation to underrate the negative effects. Patients don't want to be complainers and don't want their doctor to discontinue treatment. So no one knew how bad it really was for patients," she explained.

Wagner said the findings are "a wake-up call to physicians that says if your patient is feeling really beaten up by treatment, the risk of her quitting early is high. We need to be better at managing the symptoms of our patients to improve their quality of life."

Research presented at medical meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about breast cancer.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Northwestern University, news release, Dec. 9, 2011

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Study finds side effects, complications, mastectomy more likely after partial breast irradiation
2. Similar effects of beer and wine on the risk of cardiovascular disease
3. Tamoxifen causes significant side effects in male breast cancer patients
4. Side Effects May Spur Men to Drop Tamoxifen for Breast Cancer
5. Male breast cancer patients stop taking tamoxifen early because of drug-related side effects
6. Medical researchers ID potential new drug target that could stop debilitating effects of MS
7. Many Alzheimers patients get drugs with opposing effects
8. New anti-inflammatory drugs might help avoid side effects of steroids
9. Researchers engineer a new way to inhibit allergic reactions without side effects
10. Drug prevents bone loss side effects of breast cancer medication
11. Wayne State University to study effects of risky family environments on childhood asthma
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Side Effects Cause Many Older Women to Drop Breast Cancer Drugs
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... The Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) of ... collection of specialty vendors and unique items from across the nation, this holiday-themed event ... wellness services offered by the VNA. The boutique will be open Saturday, November ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Global Healthcare Management’s 4th Annual ... in Milford, NJ. This free event, sponsored by Global Healthcare Management’s CEO, Jon ... fun run is geared towards children of all ages; it is a non-competitive, non-timed ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Talented host, actor ... on sciatica in a new episode of "Success Files," which is an award-winning ... innovation and investigates each subject in-depth with passion and integrity. , Sciatica occurs ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... “The Journey: ... faced every danger possible to save lost souls in the Philippines. “The Journey: From ... Carole is a dedicated teacher of the Bible. She has taught all ages and ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... healthcare compliance program management, will showcase a range of technology and learning solutions ... Living (NCAL) Convention and Expo to be held October 14–18, 2017 at the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... 2017   Divoti USA will engrave and ... standard of the latest FDA requirements, which stipulates new criteria regarding ... in need of Medical ID jewelry such as Medical ID Bracelets, ... engraved in terms of the new FDA requirements . ... Divoti offers this dark mark fiber ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... Calif. , Oct. 11, 2017  BioPharmX Corporation ... scientific team that developed an innovative way to use ... of the delivery of new drugs. ... Fall Clinical Dermatology Conference will show how researchers from ... Hospital, Harvard Medical School used a suite of imaging ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... , Oct. 11, 2017  True Health, a ... amplified its effort during National Breast Cancer Awareness ... cancer risks. ... Oncology calculated that more than 10 million American ... mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2 and have not had ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: