Crystal ball needed! Hormone treatment.

Hi,

I don’t exect anyone to have a definite answer to this question but would appreciate suggestions and comments from others experiences please!

Since being diagonosed with bc, liver secondaries and the odd suspicious spot on my lungs I’ve had 10 x weekly cycles of Taxol and am now having 3 x 3 weekly cycles of Taxol. After the first 10 a CT scan showed an 80 % reduction in the size of the tumours. The cancer is estrogen + and Her2-. Other than that I haven’t ventured further with the pathology of it all … I just want to know if the treatment is making a difference.

My question relates to the next stage of treatment. My onc has said that he wants to establish where I am with the menopause (not menopausal before chemo but possibly brought on by the chemo). After that and another CT scan he is hinting at ovary removal if necessary and a hormone treatment to manage the tumours.

Being a bit of a control freak I’d like to read up on the probably treatments he may use so that when he suggests them I’ll have some approriate questions ready! Does anyone have any suggestions of what treatment is most common in these situations or what he might recommend?

Thank you.

Claire x

Hi Esmeralda

Whilst you wait for the other forum user to reply with their experiences and knowledge BCC have a fact sheet on ovary ablation, which you may find useful to read. If you would like to order a copy or read it on line just follow this link:-

breastcancercare.org.uk/upload/pdf/ovarian_ablation_june_2007_0.pdf

I hope this is helpful.

Kind regards
Sam (BCC Facilitator)

Hi Claire

I don’t have any answers for you, I’m afraid. But I’m sort of in the same boat, just had Taxol No 15 (with some Avastin thrown in), with another 3 to go before another scan. Just starting to feel a bit weary on it - how about you?

They haven’t said much about what, assuming good shrinkage, lies beyond for me.

I’ve had bc twice and over the years have taken Tamoxifen and all the AIs (Aromasin, Arimidex, Femara). Monthly Faslodex (another hormonal treatment) injections were mentioned last year, so I suppose they might still be on the cards at some stage.

I found Tamoxifen the worst for SEs and developed gynae problems (though thankfully not cancerous ones) because of it. The AIs affected me far less.

I’d be interested to know what your onc comes up with.

All the best for now

X

S

Hi S (sorry …not sure of your proper name!)

Thanks for your reply. It’s all a bit of a guessing game isn’t it?!

Yes, the Taxol SE’s are now building up, the weekly sessions seemed so much kinder than the three weekly doses. As much as I wouldn’t wish it on anyone it is good to hear that I’m not alone in feeling weary! The bit I’ve found hardest is the delay between sessions. Weekly sessions seemed to keep me fired up and full of a fighting mentality whereas the three weekly ones seem to have me feeling impatient and like I’m not doing enough fighting.

For the follow up treatment my onc seems quite set on ovary removal (if I’m still pre-menopause). He’s mentioned it a couple of times and I’m quite ok with that if it’s necessary. Nothing has been mentioned about a specific hormone treatment choice though, just that a hormone therapy would be used to “manage” things after this round of chemo. Looking into it there seems to be quite a range of hormone therapies available with Tamoxifen being the most frequently mentioned.

Not having pushed him too much for an answer on the choice of treatment, I think on my next visit I’ll have to bite the bullet and make it a priority for discussion!

Thanks again for taking the time to reply and I hope your Taxol does what’s intended for you.

Take care,

Claire x

Hi Claire,

Tamoxifen is I believe the only hormone treatment used if you haven’t gone through menopause the rest such as arimidex are only given if youve gone through menopuause.

Removing ovaries is the most effect way there are other methods such as radiotherapy or injections.
I had my ovaries out through key hole surgery.

The hormone treatments can be very effective and may even cause more shrinkage.
There are a few to try and much easier than chemo.

I’m sure all will be explained on your next appointment.
I have done really well in the past on hormone treatment, hope you get some good milage too.

bikinggirl

Hi bikinigirl,

Thank you for your reply. Do you mind me asking how you managed with the keyhole surgery? Removal, as it seems to open up the options of treatment, seems to be the most logical way forward.

My list of questions will be getting longer for my onc now that you’ve mentioned a remote possibility of further shrinkage with hormone treatments … he’s kept that quiet!

Thanks again for your reply, this forum is a life line … who else can you ask such questions of at any time night or day?

Claire x

Hi Claire,

The Key hole surgery is much easier to get over.
I think at the time it was as a day case but I had recently finished chemo and didn’t feel great after plus had lots of young children at home so stopped in over night.

When I was diagnosed with secondaries I refused chemo so I was put on Arimidex and within 5 months there was significant shrinkage to my tumors. Arimidex failed to work after about 18 months.
Although I have tried other treaments this was the best but other ladies have done well on others.

BW
Bikinggirl

Thanks bikinigirl.

Claire x

Hi, a quick update!

Saw my onc today and it looks like I’m going to have Zoladex injections (until they establish whether I’m pre or post menopausal) along with Arimidex.

Claire x