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Nov 16, 2012 09:32AM
Nov 16, 2012 09:39AM
Eileen, I can absolutely relate to your feelings. I was only a Stage 1. So because of that, I felt that the benefit to me of hormonal therapy was not huge. Not sure what your current stage is, but sounds like it's early if they are doing oncotype. From the start, I resented the idea that a natural hormone that is good for our bodies and quality of life, could be the culprit, and I didn't completely buy the idea. I didn't really want to do tamoxifen, but did for 3 years just to play it safe and because it didn't take away my estrogen, just kept it away from the breast cancer cells. I was perimenopausal and moved into being postmenopausal while I was on it. But the whole time, I kept wishing that I could remain premenopausal, because I didn't like the changes that I was experiencing with menopause. The drop in sex drive, the increased wrinkling of skin, the sleep disruption from hot flashes, and the aches and pains. It was difficult to tell what effects were from natural changes and which were from tamoxifen. After stopping it, some libido problems resolved a little, the vulval dryness along with all the vaginal discharge improved, and sleep has improved a lot. Sleep was a big issue for me!
I started an AI about 4 months after stopping tamoxifen, mainly to appease my oncologist, but stopped after only 2 months due to big problems with getting to sleep, foot pain like I've never experienced before, and worries about it prematurely aging me internally, as well as externally. Heart disease and strokes also run in my family. So I decided that I was done and would keep whatever estrogen I was still making, thank you very much!
I feel that something goes wrong with DNA to start the breast cancer process, don't think it's natural estrogen that causes the problem. I feel that the issue is more of what is in our environment, the xenoestrogens that are sprayed onto our foods, and in so many household and cosmetic products, the chemicals in foods. So I've chosen to eat mainly whole foods, organic as much as I can afford, now buy skin creams without parabens, and exercise regularly, as well as have cut down on alcohol. And studies have been published showing that alcohol and exercise do impact the recurrence of breast cancer. I would love to see studies comparing these natural factors against the pharmaceutical drugs. If you want to go the pharmeceutical route, there are other drugs that work similarly to tamoxifen, that have been studied and approved for advanced breast cancers, but I have seen on these boards that more and more premenopausal early stage patients are being prescribed them. Fareston is one of them, and I can't remember the names of others. You could ask your Onc about them.
4/2008, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
4/6/2008, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
5/20/2008 Lumpectomy: Left