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Oct 22, 2009 08:06AM
Hi Matic! So good to hear from you.
I was started on Zometa in August 2006 right after I completed 6 rounds of Xeloda/Taxotere chemo and 6 weeks of 3 field radiation for my Stage 3C ILC. Zometa studies were just beginning to explore its potential use for preventing mets, but no published results yet at that time. My onc was very concerned about my high risk for mets due to my nodal count and strongly urged me to start the Zometa infusions.
I initially took 4mg IV infusions every 3 months for the first 18 months, then she spread them out to every 6 months for the last 18 months as more clinical trial data began to be available. I had my 9th dose this past July which marked 3 full years on Zometa. Because current clinical trial data does not support continuing infusions for more than 3 years in women who are not Stage IV, we have decided to switch to annual infusions in the hopes there will be more data available by July next year. Neither of us are comfortable stopping the Zometa entirely until there are either new treatment options available for very locally advanced Stage 3 cancer or strong evidence that continuing Zometa longer than 3 years would be detrimental.
The only other treatment I am getting currently is daily Aromasin which I have been on since April 2006. I have tolerated the Zometa infusions very well with only occasional, brief episodes of flu like symptoms, achyness, low grade temp etc. This happened more commonly with my first few infusions and hardly at all for the last 2 years.
I have made it a point to have the chemo nurses slow down the infusion rate so it takes 30 minutes vs the standard 15 min to infuse. I also request they hang an additional small bag of fluids to supplement the Zometa. Since Zometa can adversely affect the kidneys in anyone who already has kidney disease or if you are not adequately hydrated, I feel it is reasonable to request these small compromises. I also believe that the slower infusion rate with increased hydration may translate into less side effects but it is possible that is just coincidental to my personal observations.
During the 3 years I have been on Zometa I received dental cleanings and checkups every 6 months. I have had 2 broken teeth during that period that required crowns and have had a couple standard fillings. I have had no signs of ONJ or peridontal disease. I am purposely avoiding any dental procedures that would involve surgery on the jawbone itself. I still have my wisdom teeth on one side and do not plan to remove them barring an emergency. I would love to have my front teeth straightened but am not willing to risk injury to the jaw unneccessarily. Perhaps as more data comes in about the actual half life of Zometa and just how long it continues to affect normal bone regeneration after stopping the drug, I will be more comfortable considering more invasive dental procedures.
I also am anxious to hear any new data on Zometa from the San Antonio Symposium. While there is no way I can definitively attribute my current NED status to the use of Zometa, my personal belief is that it along with the Aromasin has certainly been effective at keeping my cancer under control. Next month will be my 4 year anniversary since diagnosis.
Good luck to your mum and I hope she continues to do well!
Life is not measured by how many breaths we take...but by the moments that take our breath away! ...I am a 14/9 yr survivor of 2 Primary BCs, 23/23 Positive Nodes (Zometa x 5 years) Started Paloma-3 Clinical Trial 4-14-14
7/14/2000, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 2/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
8/11/2000 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel
8/30/2000 AC + T (Taxol)
2/26/2001 Breast, Lymph nodes
11/21/2005, ILC, 5cm, Stage IIIC, Grade 1, 23/23 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
12/5/2005 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left, Right
12/23/2005 Taxotere (docetaxel), Xeloda (capecitabine)
4/7/2006 Aromasin (exemestane)
4/7/2006 Breast, Lymph nodes
3/21/2014, ILC, Stage IV, mets, ER+/PR-, HER2-
4/14/2014 Faslodex (fulvestrant)