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Jan 14, 2018 09:22AM
Jan 14, 2018 10:27AM
Hi there MSQ. I had early stage BC so will try to answer your questions here. Please of course bear in mind I'm not a doctor:
There have been studies that HRT can increase the risk of ER+ breast cancer by increasing the amount of estrogen in our bodies. There have also been studies that the use of birth control pills increases the risk of BC. Same for drinking alcohol, etc. So as difficult as it may be, try to look forward not backward. We all did the best we could with the information we had at the time.
Yes, if you have early stage BC you should try to meet with a radiation oncologist now. You may be eligible for IORT, for example, which is "one and done" radiation at the time of surgery. There is also partial breast radiation, like CyberKnife, where you're done in a week. And accelerated whole breast radiation, where you're done in 3-4 weeks. Eligibility for each method is different, and some of these options are currently only available in clinical trials. But it's not too early to start getting advice on your options.
I'm now on Tamoxifen and have had no side effects in the first month. If you jump over to the "bottle of Tamoxifen" thread you will see huge variations in side effects; some women have no SEs and some have nausea or night sweats. But the proven benefits, to me and many others, are well worth it. Most SEs seem to be temporary and I know no one with hair loss.
It is not up to your surgeon which drug you choose because that is not her area of expertise. A medical oncologist, not the surgeon, will provide you with information on AIs vs Tamoxifen. You may also be eligible to get an Oncotype DX test run on your tumor post-surgery, which will provide you with a recurrence risk score. So no rush there. My MO and I decided I would start on Tamoxifen because of my osteoporosis and then consider an AI in two years, so yes you could conceivably switch.
I know this is all so overwhelming! What helped me was taking it step by step. If you post the specifics of your diagnosis in your signature line there are lots of smart women here who will help you get through this. Like a lot of challenges, it's worse at the beginning and it will be over before you know it.
Cancer touched my breast so I kicked its ass.
9/3/2017, ILC/IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
10/10/2017, LCIS, Right, 0/1 nodes
10/10/2017 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel
11/27/2017 Whole-breast: Breast
1/2/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)