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Choosing not to take hormone therapy for breast cancer.
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dollyb29 posted:
What are the ramafications if I choose not to take the hormone therapy pill that my oncologist prescribes? I have done my research of the hormone she wants to give me, but I just don't feel comfortable taking it. I have never taken any kind of hormones, have never had anything wrong with me until I had a cancerous tumor in my left breast that was found thru ultrasound screening. I am a small breasted woman and hate the fact that I got this tumor, which they did remove and now going thru radiation treaments. But Dr. still wants to put me on the hormone pill, Femara, for the next five yrs. I have stopped having my periods and I didn't get or have any of the menopausal systoms that most women experience. I am really lucky, in that one month I had a period and the next month nothing, w/no side effects. So, why do I want to start having the hot flashes, irritability and all the other side effects that go with menopause by taking this hormone, if I never had the effects to begin with!!!!!!!!!!
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judyfams responded:
I am just guessing that the pathology of your tumor was hormone positive, which means that if there are any residual cells of your tumor that were not removed as a result of the surgery- those cells will continue to grow and multiply in response to the presence of those hormones in your body that promote the growth of those cancer cells. Hormone therapy basically cuts off the presence of those hormones and prevent the growth of your type of cancer in your body as a recurrence.

So you need to discuss why your oncologist is recommending a particular kind of hormone therapy for you. It is usually done to prevent the cancer you have from recurring.

You always have choices with this disease - but you need to find out exactly why your doctor strongly reccomends hormone therapy for you and the possible consequences of opting not to do that kind of therapy.

Much good luck to you as you continue on your journey.

Judy
 
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Vangie46 replied to judyfams's response:
Your lack of menopause symptoms most likely was due to the fact that your body naturally makes enough estrogen to prevent them. This would also mean that there is enough natural estrogen present to support the growth of estrogen positive tumor cells. Your doctor wants to remove most of that cancer-supporting estrogen by giving you the aromatase-inhibiting prescription, to protect you from further cancers developing.

Unfortunately, the effect of that drug will be suffering the symptoms of menopause that most women have. But the good news is that it will also protect you from having another recurrence of cancer. Over all, a good trade.

Our best health is achieved when we make educated choices, with the advice of our doctors. After all, we have had the wake-up call.
 
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DiKay1024 responded:
Hi Dolly!

First of all, to clarify, Femara is not a hormone, but a hormone preventer. It is used in postmenopausal women because it prevents your body from turning aromatase into estrogen, which is helpful for women with estrogen positive cancer who do not have estrogen in their body from the ovaries. If your ovaries are still producing estrogen the aromatase inhibitor will not help as there will still be estrogen in the body. The idea is to get rid of all estrogen so there is nothing left to fuel the cancer.

Standard of care is now to take Femara or one of the other Aromatase inhibitors (ie arimidex) for 5 years after treatment for estrogen positive cancer if you are post menopausal. Some women choose not to do so because of side effects, or because they feel the small percentage of benefit isn't worth the risk. That is a decision to be made along with you doctor. I took Arimidex for 5 years and was one of the lucky ones (there are many of us out there) who had very few and very mild side effects. Others have had side effects that were bothersome enough to stop the drug. If you take the drug and have severe side effects you can always stop at any time, or switch to a different AI or Tamoxifen. Because you react ot one doesn't mean you will react to all of them.

Good luck with your decision! Come back and let us know how you're doing.

Blessings, Di
 
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Janey108 responded:
I am on Femara and have had no symptoms of menopause. I think the doctors know best when it comes to prescribing medication for cancer prevention. Be willing to try whatever is suggested because as someone else said in their reply to you...you can always stop one and try another esp. if it isn't working. Do everything you can to keep the cancer from coming back. Good luck to you! Jane
 
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rachael67 responded:
This is the fourth time I am trying to respond...Fingers and toes are crossed that this works!


Do your research on reliable sites, bring all your questions to your medical team and discuss them thoroughly. Some of us have opted not to take anti-hormone therapy when we weighed the benefits vs the risks, but that is an individual choice which should not be made lightly.

Also, do look into the
Breast Cancer Treatments - the non-toxic way
site as it might present some other avenues. Do make sure, however, that you discuss any choices you make with your medical team.

blessings.
Rachael
Just when the caterpillar thought her world was over, she became a butterfly! Don't give up five minutes before the miracle!!
 
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dollyb29 replied to rachael67's response:
Rachael, Thank you for your response! I am a woman who likes and appreciates choices. I'm also a women who has to question everything, I feel that way I can make good choices. Right now, I've just about finished my first week of radiation and still each time I get on that table, I want to start crying. I can't seem to get out of the room fast enough and into dressing area and get out of the hospital! I know what I am feeling is all normal feelings, but I have always been so in control of my being that its hard for me to cope with sometimes. Anyway, I'd just like to thank you and all the other women who have responded to me and offered sound advice. I am glad I'm here at this website. I know too, that everything happens for a reason. I guess at the end of this journey I will know what that reason is.
 
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rachael67 replied to dollyb29's response:
So sorry to hear how stressed each rad treatment is for you...But I can appreciate the sense of loosing control. Seems we are able to fool ourselves into believing that we are in control until....life rushes in to remind us differently! Whata bummer!!!

I hope, given that some time has passed, you are more relaxed and not so filled with tension. Actually, try reminding yourself that YOU were in control when you made the choice to have the tx! That might help somewhat?!) How much longer does your rad tx go? Let us know when it ends, and we will all board Pinkie to join you in a big ole celebration. Okay???

Blessings.
Rachael
Just when the caterpillar thought her world was over, she became a butterfly! Don't give up five minutes before the miracle!!
 
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sadblossom responded:
Hello dollyb29,
If this is of any help...................I was sooooooooo hesitant about taking a pill myself. I was given Arimidex. It set on the shelf in my medicine cabinet for weeks before I biult up enough courage. But 2 things I was told made the decision for me...................1. was...........with the pill I had an 8% chance of it returning, without the pill I had a 17% chance of it returning, do the math, that was enough for me.................and, # 2. reason, my oncologist told me that if I did not have many menupause symtoms when I went into menupause to begin with then most likely I would have few on this pill. Well, it has been near 4 months I have been on this pill, Arimidex, and the only thing I have is little hot flashes. Little spells of 'sweats', often but fairly light. So for this being not so bad, and for the benefits I may get from taking the pill............I choose to hopefully live longer and sweat a little more.
Stay strong, you will do what is best for you.
Best wishes,
Pat~sadblossom
 
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dollyb29 replied to sadblossom's response:
Dear sadblossom,
By the way I love your name, it's kinda comforting. Thank you for responding to me. I am still deciding in my mind what to do but I am taking everyone's advice here and really thinking. Also, I have my appt. w/oncologist soon and will be deciding at that time what to do. Thank you again for your sound advice and I will get back to you and let you know how things are going.

dollyb29
 
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dollyb29 replied to rachael67's response:
Hi Rachael,
Just finished my second week of treatments and I'm still running out the door. I get back to my car and I sit there for about 15 mins just crying my eyes out. I then get composure back and drive home. I hoping this stops soon but if it doesn't then so be it. I will just have to deal with this and I WILL get thru this. I am strong and I will survive this crazy ordeal. Thank you for your support and to the other women who have given sound and comforting advice.

Thank you,
dollyb29
 
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dollyb29 replied to Janey108's response:
Thank you Janey, I appreciate your advice and glad to hear that you are not having any symptoms of menopause. And you're right, I can always change to stop taking a certain medication if I don't feel it's right for me!

Thank you,
dollyb29
 
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rachael67 replied to dollyb29's response:
Please remember that if the anxiety is over the top, there are meds to help you deal with it. Talk to your medical team and see what they suggest. It doesn't have to be a permanent committment, right? Just to help you while you have the need.

Let us know how you are doing.

Blessings.
Rachael
Just when the caterpillar thought her world was over, she became a butterfly! Don't give up five minutes before the miracle!!


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