Calcium or not ?

hi, Im due to start my chemo soon.

My oncologist says that best not to have the bone strengthening drug because of problems with my teeth/ gums. Should I take my own calcium ? 


You’ll probably eventually be prescribed Adcal - daily calcium and vit D (fruit-flavoured it seems but definitely chewable). I haven’t come across anyone who hasn’t had it. Your oncologist was probably referring to the zometa infusion (biphosphonate, zoledronic acid, lots of name). This is often offered alongside chemo, It is known to carry a risk that, if you need deep dental treatment, like root canal or an extraction, it can prevent the bone and gums from healing, so dentistry of that kind needs to be done in conjunction with the hospital. So it gets complicated.

I would hold back from taking your own calcium supplement till you can clarify this with your oncologist - or ring your breastcare nurse for clarification and advice. I had one zometa and then they postponed the treatment till I’d finished the main chemo as it was just too much for my body to deal with at once. I started it after radiotherapy in fact and had to start the course again (once every 6 months for 3 years seems standard). Sometimes supplements can clash with your chemo so it’s always wise to ask before taking. Meantime I guess you could go for a calcium-rich diet (which I can’t advise on. I think eating multigrain toast is a massive dietary change!!),

Good luck with the chemotherapy. It’s a bit daunting at first but you soon find your own way to deal with it - it’s definitely manageable xx

Hello alreadytaken, If you have exisiting teeth/gum problems then it is a really good idea to get these sorted prior to starting your chemo, if you have time, as if you need dental treatment during chemo there is a risk of infection. I went for a check up and then had some dental work done before starting my chemo - the dentist fitted me in for an appointment at quite short notice when I told them I needed the check up prior to starting chemo. Once I’d had the work done and was able to confirm to my oncologist that my teeth & gums were fine he started me on Zometa infusion (every 6 months for 3 years) plus calcium tablets whilst I was having my chemo. Most people seem to start this bone strengthening treatment after chemo though so  you won’t be disadvantaged in any way if you wait until after your chemo for this - it’s there to help prevent a recurrence of the cancer, the same as the chemo does. 

As already posted, don’t take calcium, or any other supplements, yourself without first discussing with your breast care nurse/oncolologist. Hope this helps.