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All TopicsForum: Hormonal Therapy - Before, During and After → Topic: FEMARA

Topic: FEMARA

Forum: Hormonal Therapy - Before, During and After —

Risks and benefits, side effects, and costs of anti-estrogen medications. Note: Please remember that there are good experiences and bad with ALL treatments and this is a safe place to share YOUR experience, not to be influenced or influence others.

Posted on: Dec 31, 2008 11:22AM - edited Nov 15, 2017 12:04PM by Moderators

nanna wrote:

I STARTED TAKING FEMARA ABOUT 2 WKS AGO. WHEN DOES THE SIDE EFFECTS START TO KICK IN

Edited by Mods to add content from the main Breastcancer.org site on Femara: Benefits, Side Effects and More

Dx 6/27/2008, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, HER2+
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Nov 10, 2017 02:31PM - edited Nov 10, 2017 02:35PM by sweetspirit

hi,

Started taking femera Nov. '16. No discernible side effects at first.  However, in March, blood test resulted hyper calcemia 10.1, blood test in sept. 10.8, discontinued caltrate D 1200.  Blood test in Nov,. calcium back to normal.

During the month of December, extreme sciatica attack resulting in epidural, physical therapy 6wks, in Feb. another epidural for sciatica. Granted, was diagnosed with sciatica in 2010, no epidural, was functioning pretty well.  I've also had a cervical disc problem since 1983, no surgery, periodical cervical epidurals, prior to taking femera, last epidural cervical epidural was 15 years ago, a flare up has occurred, cervical epidural in June.  Shoulder A/C joint has flared, possible surgery.  I am 71 years old, and have some arthritis, but had not been debilitating.  Since taking femera, I have experienced an increase in joint pain and stiffness as well.

Was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer, 2cm mass, left side, no lymph involvement, decided to have mastectomy to decrease worry of reoccurrence.  mamma print recurrence assay rated risk of recurrence low.

I wonder if I should even participate in this treatment exposing myself to these side effects.

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Nov 10, 2017 04:10PM HapB wrote:

swwetspirit. Why did you stop taking the vitamin D? What did your doc say about the calcium being high? Did they test Hyperparathyroid hormone levels?

Asking about whether your QOL is good enough to continue is valid. Only you can decide that. With a low risk, and your age, QOL matters a lot.

Dx 4/2017, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 5/10/2017 Lumpectomy: Right Targeted Therapy 6/9/2017 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Hormonal Therapy Radiation Therapy
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Nov 10, 2017 07:59PM 6cats wrote:

ndgrll, I'm one who has had an increase in cholesterol, glucose, and blood pressure while on letrozole. My MO said that some but not all of these symptoms could be related to the letrozole. She switched me to tamoxifen at my last visit. Go back in 3mos. Will recheck cholesterol then.


Lynn Dx 3/15/2013, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 3/29/2013 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Radiation Therapy 4/4/2013 Balloon-catheter: Breast Chemotherapy 4/25/2013 AC Targeted Therapy 6/27/2013 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 6/27/2013 Taxol (paclitaxel) Dx 3/17/2017, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 4/4/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Hormonal Therapy 4/15/2017 Femara (letrozole) Radiation Therapy 4/24/2017 Whole-breast: Breast
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Nov 10, 2017 08:44PM HapB wrote:

6cats, how long did it take for you BP to go back to normal?

Dx 4/2017, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 5/10/2017 Lumpectomy: Right Targeted Therapy 6/9/2017 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Hormonal Therapy Radiation Therapy
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Nov 11, 2017 07:00AM HapB wrote:

Bosumblues, there is not way if knowing whether the AI will prevent a recurrence, but you are doing what makes you feel less anxious. If they told you 10 years, are you going to do 10 years. I sure hope that some of your se’s are reversible!!!

Dx 4/2017, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 5/10/2017 Lumpectomy: Right Targeted Therapy 6/9/2017 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Hormonal Therapy Radiation Therapy
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Nov 11, 2017 06:32PM 2FUN wrote:

if you asked me 2 weeks ago I would have said I need to get off these AI s ASAP!. Today, not too bad. The other side effect I'm de as long with is UTI s. But that is due to a combo of hysterectomy and AIs. I can't tell if part of why I feel crappy is all the antibiotics or what. All we can do is make the best decisions we can with the info we have at the time.

I know I need to really get on a more rigerous exercise program given what I have been reading about BC.

Hormonal Therapy Surgery
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Nov 12, 2017 04:56PM Jmhm1 wrote:

I’m newbie. Begin radiation tx next week and onco dr wants me to begin aromatase inhib. I’ve advised I’m not in favor based on % vs. SE. I hadseriously messed up hormones/adrenal fatigue 2 yrs ago & it’s taken me 2 yrs to get “normal”. We are supposed to “revisit” the discussion in December. I’m seriously stressed over this decision. The migraines, hair loss, pain, fatigue, skin issues, moods nearly did me in before. Am retiring end if year and want to drive across country. Anxiety over this is nearly as bad as finding out that I had cancer TWICE this year. (colon in Mar, breast in Aug) Thanks for letting me get this out.

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Nov 12, 2017 05:32PM 2FUN wrote:

jmhm1, feel free to vent all you want. That's what we are here for. I had multiple cancers found, and I understand the stress. I am taking co q enzyme 10 and glucosamine and I am surprised how much better I feel. Keep asking questions . You have time to make your decisions. Let us know how you are doing

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Nov 12, 2017 05:52PM Jmhm1 wrote:

Thanks 2FUN, appreciate the support.

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Nov 12, 2017 07:24PM SusanRachel wrote:

Jmhm, FWIW, I stressed a lot about the decision too. I have had a few small side effects, but nothing terrible - certainly nothing as bad as a cancer recurrence. I haven't had any anxiety, moodiness, bone pain, fatigue, or hair loss. No blood pressure changes, elevated glucose, or elevated lipids. I do have some triggering in one of my fingers, but it is manageable. I have hot flashes, but had those before I changed to the AI. They have actually decreased a bit in the past few months, so I am no longer sweating through my bed every night. Yay!

What it boils down to is they affect everyone differently. My view was that my decision is reversible. I felt fine on tamoxifen, so knew I could change back to that if AIs didn't suit me. I decided to give them a whirl, knowing that if things got ugly on AIs, I would simply go back to tamoxifen and call it good. One of the things to keep in mind is that people who aren't having a lot of side effects generally don't hang out here as much. We aren't in need of support because we feel fine. The folks who come here often are generally having a worse time with side effects, so it skews the picture of AIs for newbies to the thread.

Good luck!

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Nov 12, 2017 08:08PM 2FUN wrote:

jmhm1, I forgot to mention my SE's were probaBly worse, given one of my cancers was uterine, so out came all of my reproductive organs, and then I now take Femara. Double whammy on estrogen removal. It might not be that bad, and you can always stop taking it.

Hormonal Therapy Surgery
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Nov 13, 2017 03:02PM HapB wrote:

BBINACT, I had the same thing happen to my skin withering anddryng out. I don’t even look like the same person I was 7 months ago! But, what is far worse is the life threatening spike in blood pressure and heart issues this and Herceptin have caused! If you read the side effects of thsi drug, there are very serious life threatening risks of stroke, heart attack, etc. Now, I just hope the damage is reversible

Dx 4/2017, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 5/10/2017 Lumpectomy: Right Targeted Therapy 6/9/2017 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Hormonal Therapy Radiation Therapy
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Nov 13, 2017 06:47PM 2FUN wrote:

hap b, are you staying on femara, or are you going to stop?

Hormonal Therapy Surgery
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Nov 13, 2017 07:38PM HapB wrote:

All treatment on hold. Femara also causes heart damage, stroke, blood clots, lung damage. Nightmare right now!

Dx 4/2017, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 5/10/2017 Lumpectomy: Right Targeted Therapy 6/9/2017 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Hormonal Therapy Radiation Therapy
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Nov 18, 2017 10:44PM reyepsf wrote:

What do y'all do to combat these side effects? Oncologist approved vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements? Certain foods that are also recommended for hormone positive cancer? Specific exercises? I'm especially interested in relief from joint pain and how to naturally keep cholesterol levels good without prescription statins. Although not as common, I'm also concerned with bone loss and high blood pressure. So far, the night sweats and dizziness I experienced when I actually went through menopause 5 years haven't returned, but I've been n it less than a month. I'm experiencing insomnia, but that may be from anxiety dealing with cancer. Thanks for sharing how you handle these and any side effects from Letrozole.

Common side effects Each of these effects happens in more than 1 in 10 people (10%). You might have one or more of them.

Hot flushes and sweats

Pain in joints or bones

Tiredness and weakness (fatigue)

Increased levels of cholesterol

Occasional side effects Each of these effects happens in more than 1 in 100 people (1%). You might have one or more of them.

Skin rash

Headaches

Dizziness

Generally feeling ill (malaise)

Feeling or being sick

Swelling

Loss of appetite

Indigestion

Hair thinning

Diarrhea

Constipation

Vaginal dryness

Lowered interest in sex

Mood changes

Breathlessness and cough

Loss of bone strength (osteoporosis)

Vaginal bleeding

Muscle pain

Weight gain

High blood pressure

Tummy (abdominal) pain

Rare side effects Each of these effects happens in fewer than 1 in 100 people (1%). You might have one or more of them. Nervous disorders

Difficulty sleeping

Changes in sensation

Eyesight changes

Red, sore eyes

Faster heart rate

Stiff joints

Trigger finger

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Breast pain

High temperature (fever)

Taste changes

Dry mouth and feeling thirsty

Weight loss

Urine infection

Above list cut and paste from http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancer-in-general/treatment/cancer-drugs/drugs/letrozole-femara/side-effects



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Nov 19, 2017 06:06AM grandma3X wrote:

Reyepsf - I think exercise and keeping your weight under control are most important. They can combat many of the most common side effects, including joint pain and stiffness, high cholesterol and bone loss. Others swear by Claritin (without the decongestant) as a way to prevent joint pain. Turmeric may also help, but get your doctor's approval before taking either turmeric or Claritin.

There was a paper that came out a few years ago showing that low Vit D levels for patients on AIs are correlated with bone and joint pain, so be sure to get enough VitD in your food or through supplements.

The new guidelines for BC patients also recommends bisphosphonates as a way to prevent recurrence for some early stage cancers, and will also help minimize bone loss due to AIs. Talk with your oncologist or the PA in your onc's office. They may have other suggestions.

You may not experience any significant SEs. I have been on Femara for about 18 months. My hair is thinning and I have insomnia, which I treat with melatonin, but my cholesterol is good and I have not experienced any joint pain yet.

Best wishes on your journey!
Oncotype score 10. Married 35 years, 2 kids, 3 grands. Marine biologist/biochemist. No BC in my family tree. First diagnosed with multi focal ILC with 2 small tumors seen on MRI. Final pathology showed 1 large tumor measuring 5 cm! Dx 1/13/2016, ILC, Left, 5cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/13/2016 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement Surgery 5/18/2016 Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 10/26/2016 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 10/11/2017 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting Surgery 10/11/2017 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy Femara (letrozole)
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Nov 19, 2017 11:25AM Momine wrote:

Reyepsf, exercise, weight control, a Mediterranean diet or similar, i.e. fatty fish, whole grains, lots of veggies.

Dx 6/1/2011, ILC, 5cm, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, 7/23 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 6/19/2011 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Ellence (epirubicin), Fluorouracil (5-fluorouracil, 5-FU, Adrucil), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 9/12/2011 Mastectomy: Left, Right Radiation Therapy 1/8/2012 Surgery 3/7/2012 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy 3/31/2012 Femara (letrozole)
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Nov 19, 2017 12:55PM marijen wrote:

Maybe we’ve been worrying for nothing...
The Manufacturing of Bone Diseases: The Story of Osteoporosis and Osteopenia http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/osteoporosis-myth-dangers-high-bone-mineral-density

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Nov 20, 2017 07:17AM - edited Nov 20, 2017 07:18AM by dsteaparty

This Post was deleted by dsteaparty.
Dx 2/17/2017, ILC, Right, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 1, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 2/22/2017 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Hormonal Therapy 5/1/2017 Femara (letrozole)
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Nov 20, 2017 07:20AM dsteaparty wrote:

has anyone had to use Lupron to get into menopause and then gone back off of it? I was taking femara for six months with Lupron

Dx 2/17/2017, ILC, Right, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 1, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 2/22/2017 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Hormonal Therapy 5/1/2017 Femara (letrozole)
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Nov 20, 2017 11:47AM Bjsmiller wrote:

I have arthritis in my hands and knees, so I already had joint pain. It's somewhat worse on Letrozole, although not intolerable. Something I use, that seems to work for me, is 2-3 drops of rosemary essential oil diluted with a little coconut oil. Rosemary is an anti-inflammatory. Moving as much as possible helps me with stiffness, too. I agree weight control and diet will also help with any cholesterol increase (I don't have it.)

I'm Barbara, age 56 at dx, married, mom to a teen daughter. "Eat half, walk double, laugh triple and love without measure..." (Tibetan proverb) -- Six rounds of TCHP ended 10/22/15. Zometa started 11/12/15 every 3 months. Dx 6/1/2015, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Dx 6/30/2015, Stage IV Radiation Therapy 12/16/2015 External: Bone Surgery 2/16/2016 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 5/8/2016 External: Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 10/13/2016 Femara (letrozole)
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Nov 21, 2017 10:43AM - edited Nov 21, 2017 10:44AM by marijen

ovel Therapeutic Target Discovered for Estrogen Receptor Positive (ER+) Breast Cancer Mount Sinai researchers identify new protein in a common subtype of breast cancer which can potentially offer more effective therapies for the future

NEW YORK, NY

– November 17, 2017 /Press Release/ ––

Researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have identified a protein that can be targeted to suppress growth of a common type of breast cancer known as "estrogen receptor positive" (ER+), including ER+ cancers that are resistant to standard treatments.

The protein, tyrosine kinase 6 (PTK6), is an enzyme molecule that is highly expressed in multiple tumor types, including prostate, ovarian, and breast cancers. It can promote cancer cell survival and growth of ER+ breast cancer cells. The study, titled "PTK6 regulates growth and survival of endocrine therapy-resistant ER+ breast cancer cells," was published in an online study today in NPJ Breast Cancer.

"Never before has PTK6 inhibition been shown to inhibit growth and induce cell death of ER+ breast cancer cells, including those resistant to standard treatments for this subtype such as tamoxifen," said Hanna Irie, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine (Hematology and Medical Oncology) and Oncological Sciences at The Tisch Cancer Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and senior author of the study. "We are excited and gratified by these remarkable results, which could lead to a new way to treat these drug resistant metastases of ER+ breast cancers and/or prevent their metastases in the first place."

According to Dr. Irie, the research is especially important because it supports the potential therapeutic value of targeting PTK6 in ER+ breast cancers, which constitute the most common subtype of breast cancer. Approximately 65 percent of all breast cancers express the estrogen receptor (ER +) and/or the progesterone receptor (PR+). One in eight women in the United States has a chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer and an estimated 250,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in 2017.

Standard treatments for ER+ breast cancer are endocrine therapies such as tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors. "Endocrine therapies are still the most effective medical therapy for this subtype of breast cancer, and the end goal is to inhibit growth and/or kill ER+ breast cancer cells," said Dr. Irie. "However, some breast cancer patients still develop metastatic ER+ disease despite these common endocrine therapies, so newer treatments are very important and necessary to kill endocrine therapy-resistant cancers."

"This is a truly exciting discovery for the field of breast cancer," said Ramon Parsons, MD, PhD, Director of The Tisch Cancer Institute. "This breakthrough could lead to more effective therapies for women with this very common subtype of breast cancer and be the therapeutic target that the drug companies have been waiting for."

This work was supported by a Susan G. Komen Career Catalyst Research Grant, as well as Baylor College of Medicine, which made key research contributions.


About the Mount Sinai Health System
The Mount Sinai Health System is New York City's largest integrated delivery system encompassing seven hospital campuses, a leading medical school, and a vast network of ambulatory practices throughout the greater New York region. Mount Sinai's vision is to produce the safest care, the highest quality, the highest satisfaction, the best access and the best value of any health system in the nation.

The System includes approximately 7,100 primary and specialty care physicians; 10 joint-venture ambulatory surgery centers; more than 140 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and 31 affiliated community health centers. Physicians are affiliated with the renowned Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, which is ranked among the highest in the nation in National Institutes of Health funding per investigator. The Mount Sinai Hospital is ranked as one of the nation's top 20 hospitals in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Geriatrics, Nephrology, and Neurology/Neurosurgery, and is in the top 50 in four other specialties in the 2017-2018 "Best Hospitals" issue of U.S. News & World Report. Mount Sinai's Kravis Children's Hospital also is ranked in seven out of ten pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report. The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked 12th nationally for Ophthalmology, while Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Mount Sinai St. Luke's and Mount Sinai West are ranked regionally.

For more information, visit http://www.mountsinai.org/, or find Mount Sinai on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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Nov 22, 2017 07:24PM stellamaris wrote:

2fun, utis when I started on femara. Now 2 years in and they have stopped

Dx 10/5/2015, ILC, Right, 4cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Surgery 10/30/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 12/2/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Hormonal Therapy 12/18/2015 Femara (letrozole) Surgery 2/11/2016 Lumpectomy: Right Surgery 3/24/2016 Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap
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Nov 23, 2017 05:14AM 2FUN wrote:

stella, did you treat each uti? Can I ask if you have your uterus/ovaries?

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Nov 25, 2017 10:30PM 6cats wrote:

HapB, it took about 3weeks for blood pressure to normalize most of the time. I still have a few days where it is higher than it should be.

Lynn Dx 3/15/2013, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 3/29/2013 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Radiation Therapy 4/4/2013 Balloon-catheter: Breast Chemotherapy 4/25/2013 AC Targeted Therapy 6/27/2013 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 6/27/2013 Taxol (paclitaxel) Dx 3/17/2017, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 4/4/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Hormonal Therapy 4/15/2017 Femara (letrozole) Radiation Therapy 4/24/2017 Whole-breast: Breast
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Nov 25, 2017 10:36PM 6cats wrote:

HapB, I too had heart issues on Herceptin (Ejection Fraction decrease). I am 3yrs out from my last Herceptin... it took about a year, but I am released from the cardiologist... hang in there!

Lynn Dx 3/15/2013, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 3/29/2013 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Radiation Therapy 4/4/2013 Balloon-catheter: Breast Chemotherapy 4/25/2013 AC Targeted Therapy 6/27/2013 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 6/27/2013 Taxol (paclitaxel) Dx 3/17/2017, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 4/4/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Hormonal Therapy 4/15/2017 Femara (letrozole) Radiation Therapy 4/24/2017 Whole-breast: Breast
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Dec 5, 2017 10:15AM marijen wrote:

Why do double positive patients do better?

http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2015/07/08...


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Dec 5, 2017 08:04PM gkbuser wrote:

i am currenly on lupron and femara both. I have not attempted going off the lupron.

Dx 10/24/2016, LCIS/ILC, Right, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 11/10/2016 Lumpectomy: Right Hormonal Therapy Femara (letrozole), Zoladex (goserelin) Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast
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Dec 5, 2017 10:21PM KBeee wrote:

Marijen, fascinating article. Thank you for sharing

Karen. Dx 8/5/2013, IDC, Right, 1cm, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 8/26/2013 Mastectomy: Left, Right Chemotherapy 9/20/2013 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 12/12/2013 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery 1/23/2014 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Surgery 1/29/2015 Lumpectomy: Right Dx 2/2/2015, IDC, Right, 1cm, Grade 2, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Dx 2/25/2015, IDC, Right, 1cm, Grade 3, 0/13 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 2/25/2015 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Prophylactic ovary removal Chemotherapy 3/31/2015 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 8/25/2015 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy Femara (letrozole)
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Dec 5, 2017 11:32PM marijen wrote:

Kbee you’re welcome.

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