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Unread 03-23-2004, 05:50 AM
breast cancer survivor

I am a 5+ year breast cancer survivor who has been on tamoxifen for 5 years. I am 53 and scheduled for survery 4/22 and am still debating over removing the ovaries or not Is there anyone else out there with a similar history who can tell me what hormonal reactions they experienced after surgery--and after tamoxifen treatment? This is a tough decision because of the close connection between breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Any help is much appreciated! Thanks
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Unread 03-23-2004, 09:38 AM
Menopausal symptoms

Those too are probably a very individual thing. Prior to my hyst 14 years ago at age 43, I got three shots of Lupron. Lupron's side effects are menopausal symptoms. The Lupron did shrink my fibroids and uterus -- without any side effects!!

I was on Premarin for 12.5 years. I stopped taking it cold turkey when I got DCIS diagnosis. I had night sweats and broken sleep for 2 - 3 months. That was it. (Broken sleep may also have been due to stress of diagnosis.) Never had a single hot flash. No mood swings, or anything else.

Mary D.
Unread 03-23-2004, 02:03 PM
breast cancer survivor

I'm a 2time bc survivor. First time I had lumpectomy w/radiation. Had a recurrence after 4yrs. Last yr I had a mast. w/immediate reconstruction. I also have a history of irregular bleeding, uterine thickening and fibroids. Because of that, I wasn't a good candidate for tamoxifen, but still decided to give it a shot. It has made everything worse. I'm scheduled for a hysterectomy next month, removing the ovaries, but keeping the cervix. My oncologist said if they take the ovaries, I can safely stop the tamoxifen. I know by having the ovaries removed, I'll go into menopause, and because of the bc, I can't take any hormones. But my gyn. told me there are a couple alternatives I can use if I experience hot flashes or dryness. I figure I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. Best of luck,
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Unread 03-23-2004, 03:11 PM
breast cancer survivor

I am a 4+ year bc survivor. Had lumpectomy, chemo, radiation and have been on tamoxifen four years. My oncologist believes tamoxifen still is the gold standard and I will remain on it for a total of five years. I had my ovaries removed with my hyst five weeks ago. Amazingly, I have had no side effects from their removal. I went through the hot flashes, moodiness, weight gain when I started on the tamoxifen. My ob/gyn and oncologist both said my body may have become accustomed to lower amounts of estrogen since tamoxifen is an estrogen blocker. My ob/gyn was the one who believed strongly the ovaries should be removed.

I would talk to your oncologist and your ob/gyn. Mine were in agreement about what I should do. Hopefully, yours will be too and make your decision easier.

Good luck.
Unread 03-23-2004, 03:43 PM
breast cancer survivor

Hi ladies I'm encouraged reading your posts... I'm doing this in a different order though. I had my hyst/BSO two years ago, and had a lumpectomy a month ago. I've been on HRT since my hyst surgery (patches and creams, no pills and no progesterone or progestin). I just took my first Tamoxifen pill about an hour ago and am already feeling a little shaky

I've seen two oncologists, and by agreement among all three of us plus my internist, I've cut my patch dosage in half and will maintain it there as well as I can while on the Tamoxifen. I was already having some minor symptoms on the lower patch dosage even before starting the Tamoxifen.

Did anyone who had symptoms from the Tamoxifen find that they faded with time, or did they continue?

This is a very tough (and also very individual) decision, as quality of life issues are involved, and there are no guarantees no matter what we decide to do. Big s to everybody faced with these issues.

Unread 03-23-2004, 04:10 PM
breast cancer survivor

The tamoxifen symptoms definitely decrease with time. Tamoxifen made me extremely tired the first week I took it and really fuzzy-brained. Two friends of mine had the same tired feeling when they started on it. That feeling went away with time.

My main problems with the tamoxifen were uncontrollable bleeding, uterine buildup and polyps which is why I had the hysterectomy. I worried about uterine cancer the entire time I was taking it. I had many uterine side effects and that angle was really starting to concern my oncologist. He said the hyster was totally the right call from his prospective. Luckily, the path report showed that everything was benign. Although, it made me sad to lose body parts and go through major surgery, I'm just so happy to be alive that I'll do whatever it takes to keep going. There is nothing like a cancer diagnosis to put your life in perspective.

It's such a nice feeling when the doctors agree on a treatment plan!!!! Good luck.
Unread 03-23-2004, 06:23 PM

I've been on Tamoxifen for 14 months. No side effects now and none that I can remember in the beginning.

Mary D.
Unread 03-24-2004, 11:05 AM
breast cancer survivor

I've been on tamoxifen for 7mos. and most of my symptoms have been with the uterus. I have a friend who started it a year before I did, and she only had ocassional hot flashes. I think everyone is different and we don't all experience all of the possible symptoms, thank God!

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