Interview- Dr. Mary Ann Block, DO, Medical Director of Block Medical Center, Dallas/ Ft. Worth, Texas. Dr. Block has appeared on The Doctors, CBS- 48 Hours, CNN, Lifetime TV, and the Today Show. She is the author of six books about health.
SZ: “Tamoxifen has been prescribed as the primary drug for the treatment of breast cancer for over 30 years.”
Dr. Block:”It has been in use a long time. They consider the drug as a prevention of breast cancer as well as the drug treatment after breast cancer has been diagnosed, treated and hopefully prevented in the future.”
SZ: “Some research studies show that Tamoxifen doesn’t prevent aggressive cancer.”
Dr. Block: “While it may prevent a less dangerous type of breast cancer, it has actually been found to cause a very aggressive form of uterine cancer and they say in one study there is a four times increased risk in getting a more aggressive breast cancer as well.
So this treatment that is supposed to help with breast cancer may actually cause a worse type of breast cancer as well as an aggressive uterine cancer in women.”
SZ: “They have been using Tamoxifen for 30 years and are still using the drug even with those findings!”
Dr. Block: “Yes, once a drug is on the market, it is rare and unusual for it to be taken off the market regardless of the side effects. They often let the doctors decide the benefit and risk profile which is ironic because the FDA says that less than 1% of doctors know the side effects of the drugs they prescribe.
Doctors learn about the drugs they prescribe from the pharmaceutical representatives who rarely tell them the side effects. In fact, one drug rep told me I was the only doctor who asked about the side effects of the drug and she did not offer that information unless the doctor asked.
Don’t just do whatever your doctor tells you to do because if they don’t know the side effects, the doctors cannot give you what is called informed consent which means telling you all of the risks and benefits of the treatment they are recommending.
If you go on line or to the Physician’s Desk Reverence, you can see that Tamoxifen has these serious potential risks. If the doctor doesn’t know about it then I suggest finding another doctor who is willing to know the side effects of the drugs they prescribe.’
SZ: “Whenever I try to find the risks of a medicine, my doctor says, ‘All medicines have risks.’”
Dr. Block: “That is a popular thing that doctors say and they are right, all medicine has risks but it is what the risks are and what the benefits are that only the patient should be deciding. A woman may decide to have her breast removed instead of going on Tamoxifen therapy if she knew taking Tamoxifen might increase her risks for a more lethal type of breast cancer, a more aggressive type of uterine cancer, or a stroke.
To me it is just fair for a woman to have all of the information before she is expected to make such a serious and life threatening potential decision.” www.blockcenter.com
Sandy Zimmerman is celebrating 25 years as an award-winning television/ radio talk host syndicated columnist, television program producer and photographer in Las Vegas, Nevada. sandyzimm2003yahoo.com