"He indirectly assumed that Prempro was the cause of my breast cancer. If it wasn't the reason, why did he tell me to stop taking it? Of course I haven't taken any HRT since," Jackson adds. "I was originally prescribed Prempro because I was having crazy periods and then I went into menopause."
"I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002. Right away, I had a lumptectomy and subsequent radiation treatments. So far, so good but I'm not out of the woods yet.
Having breast cancer is like getting inducted into a sorority you didn't ask to join -- I always think about it; if I get an ache or pain I think about it.
Even though this was devastating at the time, it could have been a whole lot worse. From the age of 40, my mother stressed upon me to get pap smears and mammograms every year. If I didn't have an excellent radiologist and got it in time, this cancer may have gone unnoticed. I had a baseline mammogram so he was able to detect a problem from one year to the next. Now they say that a mammogram may not detect something and you may have to get a MRI.
I was also told that there is a test you can take to determine if HRT is responsible for your cancer. It has to do with the tissue taken in a biopsy - they can see if the tissue was a receptor for cancer. And this test tells the lawyers if they have a case. But I didn't get this test. Back in 2002 it wasn't available, nor was it required. That shouldn't preclude me from joining a class action lawsuit.
I want to say this to the drug makers: it is important that you put public welfare above profits. I was told that Prempro would reduce the possibility of a heart attack and nothing was ever mentioned about breast cancer. That couldn't have been further from the truth.
I know a lawsuit can't give me back the part of my breast that is gone, or give back my well-being. But if people have been wronged, they deserve compensation. And I am one of those people. I know there is a statute of limitations, there is a certain amount of time to sue; I am hoping that my case will be reviewed and I will join a class action lawsuit against the makers of Prempro."
Linda Jackson, a retired police officer, is 58 years old. Jackson jokes that " I went from arresting drug pushers to becoming one - I am now a courier for a pharmacy and I deliver meds to shut-ins." There is no breast cancer in her family, which gives her even more reason to believe that Prempro is the cause. We wish Jackson all the best in her lawsuit.
On January 8, 2003 the FDA announced that all companies making drugs that contained estrogen or estrogen and progestin for menopausal women must include a boxed warning on labels stating that the drugs may slightly increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes, blood clots and breast cancer. The warning
shocked many women and their doctors, who had assumed that Prempro, which was the most popular estrogen-containing drug used by menopausal women, simply replaced the lost hormones of youth.