Tamoxifen or No-toxifen? Experts Looking at Flaxseed Instead for Those at Risk for Breast Cancer

Early on, when I was being treated for what was at the time considered breast cancer (now called "precancer"), I was told go on tamoxifen, a drug that would prevent recurrence.  It's the standard protocol and now women who are at high risk of the disease are also being told to take it.

But the drug has risks, and although mild, they're still there.  One is hot flashes, irregular or ended menstrual periods, weight gain, lots of pretty things.

I went off it when my second set of precancerous cells were found (hadn't worked for me!), but many women don't want to go on it at all.  Is this wise?  If you're at high risk, probably not.

But a study is being conducted to find out whether "flaxseed, a natural food, has the potential to be a safe and effective alternative for preventing breast cancer in women," according to newswise.com.

Many physicians currently recommend prevention strategies that. while they may decrease the chance of being diagnosed with cancer, may increase a woman's risk of certain side effects. Tamoxifen itself was originally developed to treat advanced disease "but is associated with an increased risk of endometrial cancer and thrombotic events," newswise.com notes.

Many women who are at increased risk of developing breast cancer but are currently cancer-free find these side effects unacceptable and opt for screening alone. Why not flaxseed?  It's not yet known whether this can prevent cancer but it's totally natural, with no side effects, so why not?

My knowledge of flaxseed is that it has to do with soy, and I was warned off all soy products because they contain phyto-estrogens and estrogen is a factor in breast cancer.

But flaxseed contains compounds that have been shown in preliminary studies "to potentially act as breast cancer prevention agents for women at high risk for developing breast cancer," the Web site reports.

In addition, flaxseed has other health benefits such as decreasing cholesterol levels, decreasing blood glucose levels in diabetics and decreasing the risk of cardiac events.

The study will last for six months so it won't be known for a while if flaxseed does indeed have the same benefit as tamoxifen and other drugs like it.  But if it turns out to work, score one for science, and delete one for cancer.


Popular posts from this blog

Think You're Pretty Smart? You May Actually Stink at Visual Skills, Crucial in Today's Digital World

Leave Your Ego at the Door

End Your Texts With a Period? Don't