Peter Kramer /
Gorgeous Australian pop star Kylie Minogue is more than ready to celebrate her 5th anniversary after breast cancer. Minogue was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2005 at age 37, and was treated with surgery, chemo, and radiation. Like many other young women, she was prescribed 5 years of Tamoxifen to prevent a recurrence. Tamoxifen lowers levels of estrogen, the hormone responsible for fueling 80% of all breast tumors. As with any cancer treatment, this medication comes with side effects which can be uncomfortable.
"Trust me, I have been in floods of tears at my oncologist, saying, 'I can't stand it, get me off this stuff!' And then he will become very stern and say, 'We have to cure you.' So you have to carry on with it because it works," said the young star. Minogue has been going for follow-up visits and is hoping she will be declared in remission by May 2011, when she can go off of all medications for cancer. She has been told about the transition that many patients have to make when regular oncology appointments end. Some breast cancer patients feel lost, abandoned, or endangered when they no longer see their regular staff of nurses and doctors - stepping away from actively fighting the disease can leave a void in your life.
"I'll finish early next year and that will be amazing, but I've also heard you can feel quite insecure when you first come off it because you have relied on this medication for so long. It's going to be a big adjustment," said Minogue. Doubtless she will feel relieved when she graduates from her cancer clinic, but she can expect some side effects to linger. Medical menopause symptoms and chemobrain can continue to affect breast cancer patients for years after treatment ends. "Life doesn't go back to normal, it's a new normal," she said, when asked about how she feels now. Minogue and 2-year boyfriend Andres Velencoso Segura have no set plans for a wedding or a baby, but she is releasing her new 11th studio album, Aphrodite!
Have any advice for Kylie, or others approaching their 5-year anniversary? Leave your words of wisdom here.