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Hormone Blocking Therapy

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Hi all,

Is there any alternatives to taking hormone blockers for 5 years? I plan to discuss this with my oncologist during our next appointment but want to gather some feedback, either way. I've never been compliant with medications and prefer not taking them.


Any suggestions?

Comments

  • elainetherese
    elainetherese Member Posts: 1,625
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    Lots of women decide not to do/decide to stop hormonal therapy. They fear/dislike the side effects.

    For me, I had an aggressive (Grade 3), large (5 cm.+) lump, and my cancer had spread to one node. Plus, 95% of my cancer cells tested positive for estrogen receptors. So, doing hormonal therapy was a no-brainer for me. I finished eight years of Zoladex + Aromasin earlier this year.

    You may have had a small, slow-growing lump with a low chance of recurrence. We're all different!

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,749
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    As elainetherese noted, some women choose not to take any of these drugs or stop taking them after less than the recommended time. Since there is no way to know in advance how these drugs will affect you, both in terms of effectiveness and side effects, the decision comes down to your own personal risk tolerance. If you choose not to take them and have a recurrence, will that bother you? Local recurrences are easier to treat but the real concern is metastatic recurrence (which is not curable). As for alternatives, the only one that I know of, and it is not FDA approved but rather is considered a supplement, is DIM. Unfortunately, it is also a tablet which requires being medication compliant but again, it’s efficacy is unproven (though some studies exist).

    All treatments and medications are always your choice. As long as you understand the possible ramifications of not taking treatment the decision is totally yours. Take care

  • salamandra
    salamandra Member Posts: 736
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    The main alternative to taking hormone blockers is not taking hormone blockers.

    Overall, hormone blockers reduce the risk of metastatic recurrence by about 30%, but we have no way of knowing whether for any indivdual person, it is reducing her risk by 99% or 1%. So forgoing them may be giving up a lot of protection, or barely any at all.

    There is no comparable medical alternative, so doctors have to recommend meds when it is the standard of care. But you can let yourself be informed and decline them.

    Besides meds, it seems that keeping a healthy weight (whatever that is) and physical exercise also show some statistical reductions in recurrence.

    If you are premenopausal, going into early menopause (either chemically, which requires ongoing treatment, or physically, which can be done with a one and done operation) may provide some reduction of risk, but it brings its own risks as well.

    If there were an effective and safe once and done alternative to meds, well, I guess not many of us would be on meds! Hopefully some day…

  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 858
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    To help you decide you can ask your oncologist to give approximate statistical recurrence rates for your situation if you take the meds and if you don't. That would give you a better idea of how much of a risk you are taking. Of course, statistics are based on large populations and will not predict what will happen to you.

    I made the decision to decline hormone therapy in spite of a pretty big risk increase since I have another precancerous condition for which estrogen is protective. It's not what my MO recommends but he is OK with it since he feels my reasons are valid and I understand and accept the odds.

    Many people try HT knowing that they can stop if the side effects are intolerable. All the best with your decision.