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All TopicsForum: Hormonal Therapy - Before, During and After → Topic: Arimidex AND radiation at the same time

Topic: Arimidex AND radiation at the same time

Forum: Hormonal Therapy - Before, During and After — Risks and benefits, side effects, and costs of anti-estrogen medications.

Posted on: Jul 10, 2010 08:26PM

lizinmontreal wrote:

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Hi Ladies, I’m posting here for the first time after having found this forum about a month ago. I must say that there is so much information and support. Some posts have left me exhausted from crying so hard and others have given me a good chuckle even though BC is nothing to laugh about.

Here’s my story. I was diagnosed April 1st (It was not an April Fool’s joke!) and finally had surgery on June 30th, a lumpectomy for each breast and SNB. Five nodes were removed and deemed clear. Mass in right breast was B9 according to pathology report (Core needle biopsy result had been inconclusive) and tumor in left breast is small, 1cm.

I saw my surgeon 2 days ago and he gave me a prescription for Arimidex, which I started yesterday. I will have rads as well. Next week I’ll meet with the rad onc to get more info.

I am so nervous regarding SE due to 2 treatments at the same time. Surgeon said it would be fine.

Has anyone taken Arimidex while undergoing radiation and how did you manage?

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Jul 10, 2010 08:30PM lizinmontreal wrote:

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Hi Ladies, I’m posting here for the first time after having found this forum about a month ago. I must say that there is so much information and support. Some posts have left me exhausted from crying so hard and others have given me a good chuckle even though BC is nothing to laugh about.

Here’s my story. I was diagnosed April 1st (It was not an April Fool’s joke!) and finally had surgery on June 30th, a lumpectomy on each breast and SNB. Five nodes were removed and deemed clear. Mass in right breast was B9 according to pathology report (Core needle biopsy result had been inconclusive) and tumor in left breast is small, 1cm.

I saw my surgeon 2 days ago and he gave me a prescription for Arimidex, which I started yesterday. I will have rads as well. Next week I’ll meet with the rad onc to get more info.

I am so nervous regarding SE due to 2 treatments at the same time. Surgeon said it would be fine.

 

Has anyone taken Arimidex while undergoing radiation and how did you manage?

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Dx 4/1/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 06/30/2010 Lumpectomy in one or both breasts: Lumpectomy in my left breast
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Jul 10, 2010 08:30PM Char2010 wrote:

Liz - my oncologist told me that I should start arimidex after I finish radiation.  I finished chemo on 6/18, will be starting radiation on 7/14, and 9/1 will be starting arimidex.

Dx 2/9/2010, ILC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 10, 2010 08:38PM suzieq60 wrote:

LIz,

My oncologist likes to leave at least 3 or 4 weeks between treatments for the body to recover. There is no reason why you can't wait until after the radiation. I started Arimidex more than a month after I finished radiation.

Sue

2nd diagnosis October 2010 - IDC 5.8mm node negative - missed on mammogram in October 2009 Dx 10/13/2009, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Jul 10, 2010 08:40PM , edited Jul 10, 2010 08:43PM by lizinmontreal

Ooops,,,,,,,posted twice! I'll get the hang of this eventually.

 Char2010, that was fast! I will mention this to the rad onc.

Dx 4/1/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 06/30/2010 Lumpectomy in one or both breasts: Lumpectomy in my left breast
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Jul 10, 2010 09:09PM ruthbru wrote:

I asked that question on one of the "Ask An Expert" forums when I was in the same boat. They pretty much said it was fine to do it either way. So, I asked my onc if I could wait until after rads to start the arimidex, just in case I'd have any wierd SE, then I would know what they were from. He said OK but wanted me to start right when rads were done;  I finished on a Thursday & started taking the arimidex the next day. (In the end I didn't have any horrible, unusual SE from either one.) Good Luck! Ruth

"Invisible threads are the strongest ties." Friedrich Nietzsche Dx 2/2007, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/11 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Jul 10, 2010 10:48PM , edited Jul 10, 2010 10:49PM by Claire_in_Seattle

I did it.  I was fine.  In fact, I was very glad to be underway with Arimidex once I finished radiation.

Completed all treatment (AC +T, lumpectomy, radiation and 5 years of AIs - anastrazole). Now celebrating every single day for the wonderful life I have been granted. Dx 8/2009, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/21 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH)
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Jul 11, 2010 10:52AM lizinmontreal wrote:

 Claire, I'm glad to hear that you did well. It's comforting to know that someone else has done this.

Dx 4/1/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 06/30/2010 Lumpectomy in one or both breasts: Lumpectomy in my left breast
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Jul 11, 2010 07:30PM sharonraew wrote:

Montreal Quebec Canada?????????????  That's where I am - or the hospital anyway. 

What hospital?

Seems like asking a lot from your body.  I would 2x check with the rad onc.

sharonraew Dx 4/7/2010, DCIS, <1cm, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Jul 11, 2010 07:54PM hmm wrote:

I had all my care at MD Anderson........they do not have you start taking Arimidex until radiation is completed. My oncologist stressed that I was to start taking it the very next day after my last radiation treatment.

Pat

Lumpectomy / SNB / 25 rads and 5 boosts / oncotype 6 / arimidex Dx 9/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 11, 2010 11:00PM karen1956 wrote:

Liz....I started Arimidex the day before I started rads which was 3 weeks post chemo....My onc only treats BC....I did okay with rads.....

Karen in Denver, Dx 02/03/2006, ILC, stage IIIa, ER/PR+, HER2-, Dx 2/2/2006, ILC, Stage IIIA, Grade 1, 8/12 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 07/27/2006 Arimidex (chemical name: anastrozole, class: aromatase inhibitor) Hormonal Therapy 03/01/2007 Femara (chemical name: letrozole, class: aromatase inhibitor) Hormonal Therapy 04/01/2007 Hormonal Therapy 07/15/2007 Aromasin (chemical name: exemestane, class: aromatase inhibitor) Surgery 10/19/2006 Prophylactic (also called preventive) removal of the ovaries Surgery 07/01/2008 Reconstruction of my left breast; Reconstruction of my right breast Surgery 07/23/2007 Reconstruction of my right breast Surgery 03/23/2007 Reconstruction of my left breast; Reconstruction of my right breast Surgery 03/01/2006 Mastectomy of one or both breasts: Mastectomy of my right breast; Lymph node removal (also called dissection): Underarm (axillary) lymph node removal (also called dissection) , Lymph node removal (also called dissection) on my right side ; Prophylactic (also called preventive) mastectomy of one or both breasts : Prophylactic (also called preventive) mastectomy of my left breast ; Reconstruction of my left breast: Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction of my right breast: Tissue expander placement Radiation Therapy 07/27/2006 Chemotherapy 03/22/2006 Adriamycin (chemical name: doxorubicin), Cytoxan (chemical name: cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (chemical name: docetaxel)
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Jul 12, 2010 01:57AM Claire_in_Seattle wrote:

This is the protocol of the SWOG 0221 study, which insisted I start prior to Day 28 PFC.  I started at Day 26.

Really not a problem at all.  I was so glad to know at the end of rads that I was already into anastrazole, and was fine.

Now, I do admit to being a Type A, so did a 45 mile bicycle event 4 days after finishing rads...then couldn't figure out why I was tired!!!  All is just fine now, and I am five weeks out as of Tuesday.

Five weeks post rads, I am just fine....did a 50 mile training ride yesterday and hardly feel it, and plan to do the Seattle-to-Portland next weekend.  The only thing I notice from the anastrazole is slight soreness/weakness in the knees and a bit of a metalic taste.  So I am tight with Aspercreme and ibuprofen (both old friends of mine).  That's it.

Completed all treatment (AC +T, lumpectomy, radiation and 5 years of AIs - anastrazole). Now celebrating every single day for the wonderful life I have been granted. Dx 8/2009, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/21 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH)
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Jul 13, 2010 05:14PM lizinmontreal wrote:

I met with my rad onc for the first time today. She said to take the arimidex. I'll be getting 20 radiation treatments but there is a little glltch that has to be solved before starting.

 sharonraew,Yup I'm from Mtl,QC and the rad onc is from the Montreal General. Hope your treatment is going well.

Thank you all for your input. 

Dx 4/1/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 06/30/2010 Lumpectomy in one or both breasts: Lumpectomy in my left breast
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Jul 13, 2010 05:33PM sharonraew wrote:

I'm at the Vic.  Saw the oncologists today and got the same perscription.  Rad for 20 treatments and Arimidex immediately.  And a long list of possible side effects.

 I have a bunch of scans to do so won't start rads for a few weeks.  Rads are at the MGH.

 Keep in touch.

sharonraew Dx 4/7/2010, DCIS, <1cm, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Jul 13, 2010 07:25PM Jayne_in_UK wrote:

Liz I started Arimidex a few days after I started rads in December 2009.

I had already done chemo and had various side effects from that and I was more frightened of rads than I was of chemo for some reason. I wasn't too sure about taking Arimidex for 5 years either but I was strongly ER+ and decided to give it a go. Anyway I started to feel better while I was doing rads. My skin didn't burn and I generally coped a lot better with it than I expected. I kept doing gentle exercise during this time. Starting the Arimidex didn't have much effect at first. I did have some joint pain and stiffness after a few weeks but it didn't last very long. I started taking glucosamine and fish oil supplements and soon my joints felt normal again. I noticed yoga poses that had been uncomfortable became easy again, I'm not sure if this was due to the supplements or if my body just got used to the Arimidex.

I hope all goes well with your treatment. 

Recurrence: Jan 2012 Dx 4/9/2009, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 4/13 nodes, ER+, HER2-
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Jul 14, 2010 08:59AM lizinmontreal wrote:

Claire, wow, I wish I had your energy! You go, girl!
 
Jayne, thanks for your encouraging words.
 
Sharon, we must be very close in the timing of our treatments. 
 
In my case, there is a little glitch now. The doctor is having the lymph nodes tested again because the pathology report first said that 3/5 were positive and at the end said that it was a misdiagnosis and that they were negative. She wants to make sure one way or the other. So now I will have to wait another 2-3 weeks for the results. Ugggg! I was mentally prepared for radiation but now it may change.
 
Dx 4/1/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 06/30/2010 Lumpectomy in one or both breasts: Lumpectomy in my left breast
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Jul 14, 2010 10:09AM sharonraew wrote:

 Hi

 Yes we probably will be quite close.  Maybe we will meet at some point. - Have you had all your scans.  They just scheduled my bone scan and density - August 17th so I probably won't start rads before that.

 Sorry about lymph nodes.  They are being sooo careful now after all the false tests last year.

 I am less scared of radiation than the Arimidex.  The radiation is done and you know you will heal and get back to normal.  At least by the time I start I will have an idea how these stupid pills are affecting me.  And gosh they were expensive - thank goodness for insurance.

sharonraew Dx 4/7/2010, DCIS, <1cm, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Jul 14, 2010 12:31PM Cindi-in-Seattle wrote:

Claire,

I am new to this and live in Seattle as well.  Getting positioned for radiation therapy today and starting next week post lumpectomy.  My medical oncologist recommended I start arimidex prior to radiation so just started.  I'm an avid outdoors person as well and hate the idea of the fatigue and joint/muscle pain of these therapies. 

Where are you having your treatment?  I'm with Swedish.

Dx 6/2/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 14, 2010 01:26PM BonnieK wrote:

My onc started me on Arimidex after chemo and shortly before rads -- I had no problems from SEs during the radiation treatments.  In fact, other than the running back and forth 5 days a week, rads was a breeze.  SEs from the Arimidex didn't kick in for about 2 months and stayed mild for quite awhile. Best of luck to you!   --bonnie 

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Jul 14, 2010 02:48PM Claire_in_Seattle wrote:

Hi Cindi -

I am being treated at Group Health.  First of all, I found that I only had about three weeks of "radiation fatigue" which meant that I was wiped out by the two 45 mile bicycle events I did (Flying Wheels and LIVESTRONG).  But nothing worse than that.  I found that the turning point was a trip to the St Honore bakery in Ballard for some lavender macaroons!!!

So I wouldn't sweat it with the radiation.  I was fine until the last week.

About Arimidex (or anastrazole):  I am finding that my only main area where I am not up to par is my knees which haven't been exactly stellar for some time.  So I am packing a fresh tube of Aspercreme plus ibuprofen along with sunscreen and and anti-bonk potions for the Seattle-to-Portland.

I am doing this just six weeks after last radiation treatment....still not quite 100%, but think I will be just fine as have the stamina to go the distance to Portland.

You may hardly feel the radiation as looks like you escaped chemo whereas I had a kick butt protocol.  So you won't have to do things like rebuild iron levels and wait for skin to heal in place that touches bicycle seat!!!!

Completed all treatment (AC +T, lumpectomy, radiation and 5 years of AIs - anastrazole). Now celebrating every single day for the wonderful life I have been granted. Dx 8/2009, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/21 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH)
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Jul 14, 2010 03:01PM Cindi-in-Seattle wrote:

Thanks Claire,

We are planning a big sailing trip, actually sailing our 46-foot sailboat from Shilshole to San Diego in preparation for a retirement trip around the world.  Retirement isn't official until the end of November but with Seattle weather, we need to get the boat down the coast before the fall weather descends.  We've put off our departure until Labor Day which coincides with the completion of my radiation therapy.We have a couple of friends who are willing to help us sail it down the coast, knowing that I probably won't be in peak form. 

It is very reassuring to hear that you are doing STP!  Best of luck to you.  I've done it in the past and it is quite an accomplishment.  I'll just keep working out through all of this and hope that I can do as well as you did.  My knees are not stellar either so I'll probably have that same side effect with my arimidex therapy.

Thanks for chatting.    Cindi

Dx 6/2/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 16, 2010 12:13AM char4722 wrote:

I started Arimidex on 6/7/07 and started radiation treatment on 6/19/07 which lasted for 35 sessions until 8/7/07.

I had been advised to prep my skin twice daily for three weeks before starting the radiation with Aloe Vera which I did. I did not have any radiation burns, but, did have fatigue and the usual Arimidex SE of joint pain.

Good Luck.

Dx 5/2007, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, 0/2 nodes, ER+
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Jul 21, 2010 06:22AM bonniewe wrote:

Hi, Ladies, I've been reading all the material on Armidex SEs and also this forum topic.   I got my "tatoos" Monday, July 19 and start rads as soon as they finish the planning session.    My med onco wants me to start armidex 3 weeks after the beginning of rads and I'm very nervous about it.   I'm about to head back to work after short term disability and worry about the SEs of rads and armidex.    I'm very active (runner, weights, etc) and have been bummed since the surgery to still not be allowed to run.   I am walking 5 miles a day and working in the yard.   Reading your forum gives me some hope that I can soldier on and stay active!   

Char, any special aloe vera?   I'd like to get started on that eventhough rads start next week.   

thank you all,  BonnieWe

Dx 5/11/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 21, 2010 07:25AM , edited Jul 21, 2010 07:29AM by somanywomen

Since it is reducing the estrogen effect on BC...I wish my doc had started the arimidex with radiation, heck, I don't know why they don't start it as quick as they know the ER/PR statisics after surgery. Makes sense to me....

Sometimes I wonder if women with very dense breast shouldn't be proactively taking a low dose estrogen inhibitor to lessen their chances of ever getting BC in the first place...

“There must be some way out of here,” said the joker to the thief, “There’s too much confusion, I can’t get no relief."....All Along the Watchtower..Bob Dylan Dx 9/28/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Jul 21, 2010 08:29AM char4722 wrote:

Hi Bonniewe,

I got the Aloe Vera 100% clear gel in the pharmacy section at WalMart. It is made by Fruit of the Earth. I just "smeared" it all over both breasts (being careful not to rub out the tatoos) twice a day starting three weeks before radiation and continued throughout the treatments. I also used plain cornstarch that I brushed on my breasts when I got too sweaty.

I think starting it any time in the process will help protect the breast tissue. Many other women at my cancer center reported good results with the same routine.

 My thoughts and prayers are with you. 

Dx 5/2007, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, 0/2 nodes, ER+
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Aug 12, 2010 08:54AM sharonraew wrote:

Hi Liz

 Don't know if you are still checking site.  Hope you are well and glitch cleared up.

 I have very few and minimal SE from Arimidex so far (1 month).  I am off work and right now all is manageable.  We will see once I return to the rat race.

Starting rads on Monday mid-day.  Any update on your situation? 

sharonraew Dx 4/7/2010, DCIS, <1cm, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Aug 13, 2010 07:12PM lizinmontreal wrote:

Hi Sharon,

The glitch turned out fine. After another opinion, my lymph nodes are free of cancer. I am relieved to hear this and now can move on with the correct treatment which will be 20 sessions of rads. I've had my CT scan done earlier this month as well as tattoos. They said that they will call me in 2-4 weeks to start. Again....this endless waiting but at least I know where I stand and the anxiety which we all feel at the beginning of dx has dissipated. 

I've only been on Arimidex for a short 5 weeks and so far minimal SE, just like you. I have fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis so I'm used to bone pain and so far it hasn't gotten worse. Btw, I got my second month's supply at Costco and was charged $169 whereas at the pharmacy it was $184. I mentioned the generic version of arimidex at both places and neither pharmacist knew what I was talking about. (It was a hot topic on another thread.) It looks like it won't be available in Canada for a while.

Good luck with your rads on Monday. That department sure is a busy place! What creams/lotions did they recommend for you? Are you going to join the August rads group? I may pop in there but haven't decided yet. 

Thanx for thinking of me. 

Dx 4/1/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 06/30/2010 Lumpectomy in one or both breasts: Lumpectomy in my left breast
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Aug 13, 2010 07:27PM lizinmontreal wrote:

I also asked the rad onc about taking arimidex while doing rads and she said that's no problem.

Dx 4/1/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 06/30/2010 Lumpectomy in one or both breasts: Lumpectomy in my left breast