When Lisa Evans battled breast cancer, she was rightly relieved.
But the Perth mother was dealt another blow after the medication she was taking to fight the disease led to her developing another form of cancer.
She had just completed her five-year ‘cancer’ recovery from endometrial cancer surgery.
Ms Evans is now urging people not to consider the “rare” second diagnosis and look at the benefits of the drug tamoxifen.
“You take medication to reduce your chances of breast cancer again, but then it increases your risk of endometrial cancer,” she said. 9 News.
Tamoxifen is prescribed both to patients with breast cancer as a form of treatment and to patients without cancer to prevent breast cancer from coming back.
It is effective only in the hormone receptor-positive form of the disease and works by blocking the attachment of estrogen to breast cancer cells, preventing the cells from receiving signals to grow and reproduce.
The drug can reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence in premenopausal women by 30 to 50 percent and by 40 to 50 percent in postmenopausal women, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Despite being diagnosed with early-stage endometrial cancer, Ms Evans remains positive and encourages people to consider treatment.
“Friends say how do I feel? I’m very clear that I’m super successful,” she joked to 9 News.
Studies have shown that the risk of developing endometrial cancer in women when taking the drug is two to three times higher, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Cancer Australia has described the risk of endometrial cancer as “consistently higher” for women taking tamoxifen, particularly those over 50.
“The risk of endometrial cancer increases with longer tamoxifen use. Women taking tamoxifen for 10 years had twice the risk of endometrial cancer compared to women taking tamoxifen for 5 years,” the report said.
The organization encourages patients to look at the potential risks and benefits of tamoxifen before making a decision.
“Tamoxifen is an important adjuvant therapy, and women must balance the important benefits of reducing breast cancer recurrence with any rare side effects, including an increased risk of endometrial cancer,” it said.
Originally published as Mom has endometrial cancer “from the drugs” that helped her beat breast cancer