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HRT & Cancer Risk vs Quality of Life HRT & Cancer Risk vs Quality of Life

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Unread 07-15-2010, 05:44 PM
HRT & Cancer Risk vs Quality of Life

For anyone out there who has had breast cancer or a strong family history and a doctor told you not to take any type of HRT, but you did anyway, based on what your quality of life was...How would you explain it to someone who was hesitant to even go on a HRT patch such as vivelle?

I know it is an individual decision that all women have to make themselves, but I have a sister who is 61, and I am convinced that if she would use a hormone patch or some form of a bio-identical, she may be having a better quality of life right now...

I have been doing some reading and it sounds like everything I thought about using HRT after 55 was not accurate. I thought after women reached 60, they didn't have to bother with HRT, if hot flashes didn't bother them....I feel so stupid at not realizing how many other things are affected by not enough estrogen to allow for better body functioning....

I want to bring the subject up to my sister, she had breast cancer about 25 years ago, and did not require any treatments, she now has implants in both breasts with mastectomy of course.

I ask this question because I have realized for myself it is a quality of life issue for me, I simply am a wreck in menopause.....broken down wreck.....

She lost her adult son last August, she has so much depression, and I fear it is getting worse....I am wondering if she hasn't got the menopause issue going against her as well.....if she had one less thing to worry about, maybe it would make her antidepressants work better....

any thoughts? thank you
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Unread 07-15-2010, 06:02 PM
Re: HRT & Cancer Risk vs Quality of Life

Well, I think I understand how you feel. I have had breast cancer myself but have chosen to stay on HRTs (transdermal & bioidentical) due to quality of life considerations as well as the fact that there are no conclusive data out there showing a link between the HRTs I use and breast cancer incidence. I realize that since my cancer was ER+, using HRT may cause any existing cancer I may have to grow faster; however, my track record with finding and eradicating it causes me to believe that that is preferable to how I feel when I try to live without enough estrogen.

However... your sister is her own person with her own beliefs and thought processes. No matter how logical it may seem, no matter how much you care, you cannot change who she is. For many people, the fear of cancer can cause them to completely throw out logic and reason and adopt a course of action that may not be the best for them overall but makes them somehow feel "safer", whether or not that's actually true.

You can lead by example, but you cannot make your sister do what *you* would do in her situation, and trying to convince her may alienate her, which I am sure you don't want. Do what you think is right for you, but remember, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.

I hope this helps.

Unread 07-15-2010, 07:19 PM
Re: HRT & Cancer Risk vs Quality of Life

I don't believe there is concensus that a woman who is menopausal should be on HRT. I certainly have been told the opposite, so clearly its at best controversial and depends on the individual. So if your sister does not want HRT, she can find opinions to back her up, too. You can give her your opinion but its probably not a good idea to try to talk her into it. Sometimes we just have to let family make their own decisions. Maybe you can help her in other ways.
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Unread 07-16-2010, 05:43 PM
Re: HRT & Cancer Risk vs Quality of Life

thank you ladies for are right, it is such an individual thing to do, it's probably not even up for discussion with most people...

I guess it came to my attention recently because of where I am age wise and where I am in relation to what I am dealing with on a personal I have discussed things with her, I see many of the things that I am dealing with now, and have read so much recently....she apparently has no more hot flashes, but memory, focus, overall feelings of well being and weight gain for no obvious reason...are the things that she has told me has been so difficult to deal with....but she always says "I can't take any HRT because of the breast cancer" and I always stop talking about it......I have never even thought of asking her if she might consider trying it, out of respect for her personal choices....but I also happen to know that her doctor has spent no time in discussing any options with's almost like she gets a one sided view of the whole issue....
I have the risk as well, as I am her sister, and knew when I asked for something to help with the hot flashes that it was a personal choice I had to I move into my fifties, I can see that my body has no reserves at all to handle what I am dealing with...
I think I will see how the regimen that my doctor put me on works out, and if it is positive, she might start asking me about it....

As someone who lost a sister last winter to lung cancer, I have come to understand life quality so much more, and that is why I am determined to at least try to have more energy and up is just too short.

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