Breast Cancer - Continuing Treatment Video

Advancements in the treatment of breast cancer mean that more women are surviving than ever before. But in order for the treatments to be effective, women must take their medication as prescribed.
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Sherri Dmyterko: New breast cancer research has found that patients may be compromising their health by not taking their breast cancer medication correctly, or stopping it all together before the full five-year course of therapy is completed. According to a recent study in a Journal of Clinical Oncology, one in four women with hormone-sensitive early-stage breast cancer stop taking their anti-estrogen treatment during the first year. And after three years, nearly half of all women with early-stage breast cancer discontinue their therapy. Dr. Susan Dent a Medical Oncologist at the Ottawa Hospital Regional Cancer Center has done her own research and is concerned. Susan Dent: It's very important that women continue to take their therapy as prescribed. If they stop early, they may decrease the effectiveness and compromise the long-term outcome. Research we conduct in Ottawa have shown that most commonly reason that women stop taking anti-estrogen aromatase inhibitor therapy is due to muscle aches and bone pain. We also found however that if they spoke with their Medical Oncologist they often were able to continue taking the therapy because we could control their symptoms. Sherri Dmyterko: Janet Stenger is living with breast cancer. Janet Stenger: You have to take responsibility for your wellness and figure out a way to stay on that medication, because that what's going to give you the best chance of survival, give me the best chance of my survival, and ultimately I want to be here for my children. Sherri Dmyterko: The best chance of protecting against recurrence is to commence treatment with the most effective adjuvant therapy at diagnosis. Women are often prescribed treatment with an aromatase inhibitor for five years. Susan Dent: It's very important that women take their breast cancer medication as directed. In fact recently it's being shown that some treatment such as an estrogen continue to work for years after the therapy is stopped. And that's even more reason that women to take the medication as prescribed. Sherri Dmyterko: To help adhere to treatment, speak to your doctor. For more information visit your local chapter, the Canadians Breast Cancer Foundation. You can also visit website such as sharingstrength.ca. Sherri Dmyterko reporting.

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