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What is Toremifene?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 26 September 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2019
    Conjecture Corporation
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Toremifene is a medication used for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer in women who have already undergone menopause. Clinical trials have explored other potential applications of this medication, such as prevention of prostate cancer. This medication is taken orally on a dosage schedule developed by a doctor, and patients may take it with other drugs in combination therapy to attack the cancer from a number of different angles.

Toremifene is related to tamoxifen, another breast cancer drug. It is an anti-estrogen, working by selectively blocking estrogen receptors to inhibit the growth of tumors that need estrogen to grow. This drug is not a steroid, although it will change the balance of hormones in the body, and many of the side effects are linked to hormone fluctuations. Like other cancer drugs, it can be associated with immunodepression, and it is important to make sure patients avoid potential sources of infection while on the drug.

Common toremifene side effects include hot flashes, vaginal discharge, vision changes, sweating, nausea, and vomiting. Some patients experience more severe gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea. Rarely, the medication can cause a condition called tumor flare in patients with cancers that have metastasized to the bone. In these patients, calcium levels in the blood can elevate, requiring hospitalization until they are stable. Patients may also experience blood clotting, potentially leading to stroke and other problems.

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While on toremifene, patients will need to undergo regular follow-up appointments to track the progress of the cancer and see if the patient is responding to treatment. During these appointments, medical imaging studies may be used to look at the cancer, and patients can also be interviewed to discuss side effects and new symptoms. An oncologist usually supervises care for cancer patients and can provide advice on adjusting dosage regimens and making other treatment changes as needed.

The prognosis for a patient using toremifene can vary. Metastasis is not a good sign and makes the cancer more challenging to treat and defeat. It does not mean the patient's case is hopeless, however. It may be possible to control the cancer, making the patient more comfortable and extending life. When thinking about options for breast cancer treatment, it is advisable to discuss all the available options on the table with a doctor, and to learn about the outcomes with various course of treatment, as well as nontreatment. Patients with advanced cancer may also be eligible for clinical trials, offering an opportunity to access drugs not yet on the general market.

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