Breast cancer, tamoxifen and weight gain

by Karen
(Michigan)

First, I'd like to say that I really agree with everything I've read so far on your website.

I was wondering though, I am a breast cancer survivor who recently completed treatment. I do take tamoxifen, which interferes with estrogen production and will continue to take it for the next oh...4 and 1/2 years.

Actually, since my treatment (mastectomy, chemo and radiation all started just over a year ago) and even through the chemo when I didn't feel like eating a thing, I've gained well over 40 lbs.

I've always been extremely thin all my life and this is a complete change for me. I'm not certain if it is my metabolism that has changed, or the cancer is out of my system allowing me to be healthier, or the hormones (or lack thereof).

Incidentally, my older sister also has had breast cancer and just finished a 5 year term of taking tamoxifen, and she is still as thin as a rail.

I work in a factory, and do a LOT of walking, some lifting every day, even some climbing at times. Most of the weight is yes, around my waist, but have general weight gain everywhere.

Do you have any experience with this type of weight gain at all, or any specific advice? I thought about ordering your menopause book, but didn't know if it was appropriate for my situation.

Please let me know your opinion. I've noticed you "do your homework" and I'm wondering if you have ever researched this topic. I haven't found much on my own. Thanks for the great website and oh, I also thought I'd let you know I've shared your blog about breakfast on my fb page. :-)

Comments from Cari:

Hi Karen, firstly let me say I'm so sorry to hear about you and your sister.

This is not something I've studied in any depth, but from what I've read, weight gain is more common than not after breast cancer. The more likely explanation for weight according to some doctors is that chemo is more likely to have been the cause of weight gain than Tamofixen itself. I don't know if you sister perhaps did not have chemo whereas you did?

Some other things you might like to investigate are whether your sleep patterns have changed and also if you've been exposed to more chemicals.

As for my menopause books - I don't go the hormone route because my experience has been that hormones affect different people in different ways. What it does offer is day in and day out sensible tips to follow during menopause that I know work.

Karen, thanks for sharing my breakfast ideas on your facebook page. I had to smile when you said 'I do my homework' - I believe I do. However, not so long ago I had a very angry letter telling me I was an idiot to believe something different that what all the conventional research tells us :)

Take care
Cari

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