Help, I'm shrinking!

I have had bone mets since initial Dx in nov 2010. My cancer is 100% ER positive and Her 2 neg. Since dx I have had chemo EC, surgery and radiotherapy. I was put on zometa and Aromasin following chemo. Last summer I had an increase in aches and pains which prompted my onc to ask for a bone scan. This showed progression in the bone (ribs, spine, hips) and so I was taken off aromasin and put onto tamoxifen. Apart from aches and pains things seem to be fairly stable. However people kept asking me if I had shrunk!!! To be honest I did feel that I was having to look up at some people who were previously the same height as me, particularly my husband and my daughter!!! I asked my husband to measure me and found that my height had shrunk 2.5 inches from five feet eight inches to five feet five and a half inches. I am totally shocked. Has anyone else had this kind of experience?
I know we shrink as we get older but I am only 58 so this seems a big drop very soon. Could it be the drugs??
Suzanne x

Hi Suzanne,

I am afraid it is yet another problem we have to put up with having bone mets. I found it very noticeable as I was only 5’2 and 1/2" (very important that extra half inch LOL). I too have lost 2.5" and find I notice it particularly in the kitchen when cooking or or things like filling the kettle at the sink - oh in lots of little ways. We know from scans that my spine is in a mess and most of the soft tissue between the vertebrae has gone and the bones lying tight to each other. At the Marsden where I am treated they do measure us frequently. I have had very extensive bone mets from when they were first diagnosed in 2002 but I think the height loss has been more recent, probably over the last 5 years.

Hi Suzanne, another who has lost, almost an inch, I think. Was 5ft 3 and a half (agree Dawn half inches are important!)

Thanks for your replies Dawn and Belinda. I guess I am going to treasure those half inches too from now on!

Another reason I noticed the shrinkage is that for me it has been uneven. On my right side my ribcage lies closer to my pelvic bone and the skin folds on that side - and I don’t even carry excess weight!


Sorry to hear that you have this problem. :frowning:

The usual cause for height loss with osteoporosis or if you have bone mets in the spine is loss of integrity in the vertebral bodies, i.e. partial collapse resulting in loss of height of each affected vertebra, plus or minus loss of the intervertebral disc space. In a “normal” aging spine it is the disc space that goes as the disc tends to dry up with age. The other possible contributing factor might be postural, so it may be an idea to check that out with a physiotherapist?

Good advice Morwenna
suzanne x

I’ve lost about 5cm too I think - maybe more by now as the last time I was measured was a couple of years ago. I’m in my late 40s but had a total hysterectomy in 2006 and have also been on estrogen blocking drugs for the last few years. I have at least one spinal met. I thought the hospital’s height measurer was wrong but reading everyone else’s experiences I guess it wasn’t!


I think the estrogen blocking drugs may be part o the problem! I will report back later after I have spoken to my onc x
suzanne x

And another one… I can ignore the metric height and weight measurements at the hospital - LOL - but when I changed GP a couple of years ago, the nurse doing the new patient check said 4 ft 10 in - I said “I’ve been 5 ft all my adult life”… how had I been so careless as to lose the 2 inches ( LOL again) - I have had osteoporosis (though recent DEXA showed normal bone density, thanks to 10+ years of bisphosphonates) and bone mets dx 2006.

Well registrar said it could be effects of bones collapsing due to osteoporosis/mets despite being on zometa! Anyway I am having CT scan and bone scan as my tumour markers were up again si I guess that should shed light on it. Just hope I don’t get any more bad news :frowning:
suzanne x

I’m another shrinking violet! I was 5 ft 4 and a half …and am now under 5 ft 2" and I have the same probem reaching for things in the kitchen as Dawn does.