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Oct 28, 2010 09:18AM
Kathy, I am really sorry to hear that you have had such bad experiences with estrogen blockers. I recently made an important decision in that regard. I have shared it elsewhere, but I won't share it here, since each person's experience is really not pertinent to another person. The closest thing to my two cents is that ultimately the short answer of whether or not you should take them is: they may save your life - or they may have no impact at all. Or they may kill you.
Ultimately, there is no scientific way to judge the medical benefits of these meds on YOU, personally, with the medical knowledge we have today. Statistics are not science - they are maths for groups and they are used as game guessers in annoying diseases like bc where targeted therapy is still in its infancy. They can also obscure facts. Take Tamoxifen, for example (I know nothing about AIs), which is classified as a carcinogen by the World Health Organization. This medication has zero effect on overall survival - that is, survival from all causes including but not limited to bc. This is because the benefits some women get from bc are numerically balanced out by side effects such as blood clots or uterine cancer, etc.... So one woman may die because of Tamoxifen, while the other will benefit from its anti-breast cancer effects and survive of bc thanks to the drug.
Ultimately, I would advise someone that it is a judgement of values; that you should make the decision assuming both the worst and the best case scenarios and only then ask yourself whether you are willing to go all the way.
Could you handle early death? Could you?
Can you handle the present level of misery?
Is life breathing or really living? Or is the misery tolerable? Only you can answer those questions. What do you have that you will live or die for, and are you religious or do you have small children?
Because, guess what, you got BC and the statistics most likely said that wasn't going to happen, right? And most people who do get bc are initially diagnosed at an earlier stage than you. Again, so much for "stats" as I hate to call them. We are in love with numbers in our culture. It gives us a false sense of security, and I think you know that, otherwise you wouldn't be going through such a dilemma.
Good luck with your decision!
Anyone diagnosed with cancer should learn to have a healthy disrespect for statistics. Statistics are maths. It's the science which still eludes us.
3/2009, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 3/8 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-