I am on Arimidex with monthly Zoladex injections have been since nov 2007. So far its keeping thinggs at bay. But I have been having really painful joints and have put on weight around my stomach. I also have the hot flushes but don't wake me up at night.
MY gp prescribed Amytrypteline which helps with hot flushes.
I am 44
I had Zoladex and Tamoxifen after initial diagnosis in 2002 (grade 1 to 2 ER+ no lymph involvement) - injection a little painful and a bit restrictive as I had to be around every month - affected my libido and had hot flushes at night. Stopped the Zoladex after 2 years and my periods started after 3 months and libido returned - in March 06 (age 41) was diagnosed with bony mets in hip and spine and as I was having radiotherapy course to help these I had my ovaries ablated at the same time - I didn't want any additional oestrogen knocking around. Have noticed less hot flushes but have gained a little weight around the middle! Zoladex is worth a try if you still want the opportunity to have kids but if not ablation may be a better solution.
I'm 35 and have been on Tamoxifen since Nov 1st last year and was also started on Zoladex in feb as my periods continued. Like you I do not yet have children so do not fancy the option of a permanent ovary shutdown (not that it has been offered to me).
Anyway, I have had no probs at all with the Tamoxifen so far, but I defo think that Zoladex has had a massive affect on my sex drive. I was warned that one of the side effects is loss of libido and this is certainly true for me. My poor boyfriend says he's not bothered at all but I'm not sure whether he's just being nice! Usually, pre-zoladex, I loooveeeeee sex, now, I really am not interested at all. Have been getting hot flushes and night sweats but they are very bearable an not too troublesome at all. I just wish we still had a sex life!
I wish you well with whatever you decide,
I had my ovaries blasted with to cycles of radiotherapy as form of ablation as I did not want anti hormonal treatment due sever reaction to tamoxifen. I'm 43 and have had very few problems after this and no menopausal problems at present. It was very easy to get done and no pain or recovery problems(although you can get side effects) Hope this is helpful.
i have been on zoladex for 3 years and about to carry on for another 2 years! hi p hip hooray!!
I was Dx in June 2004 3.5cm ER+, Her2 +++, lump was removed, nodes were clear had chemo, rads, herceptin, started on zoladex and tamoxifen, then when i was fully menopausal i moved to arimidex. Then after 2 years i moved back to tamoxifen.
I was 28 when i was diagnosed and had just met the man of my dreams, we are still firmly together and got married 1.5 years ago and i would be lying if i said it hasn't effected my sex life.
I have made sure that these drugs would not ruin our sex life, i went through a series of oestrogen creams which were awful and i finally found vagifem which are oestrogen pessaries and they are great and have helped me a lot. They do lift my oestrogen levels very slightly so that is why i moved from arimidex to tamoxifen so it would possibly be more effective for me.
You just get used to things and hopefully they wont effect you too much.
The next battle i face is whether to risk having kids, i too want to save my ovaries as i really can't make that decision yet so once i finish all my hormone treatment in 2 years i will decide. Really not sure if i should get my ovaries removed and be done with it!!
I also struggle with hot flushes, night sweats and night time toilet trips!! and weight gain - oh the joys of menopause.
I have found that keeping fit really helps me to feel a lot better!!
You do get used to things though and it does get easier to deal with
i hope this helps
I cannot answer your question about the effect the treatment may have on your sex life as I have had 3 operations in the last 2 months so have not even thought about this, I am single and have been for 3 years, I am older than you and have 2 children so having my ovaries out and being on tamoxifen has not been and issue for me.
I am happy being single for the time being and will deal with any issues on the sex front when it arises, in the end the choice has to be yours but my overriding desire to do all I could to help stop the cancer coming back was the reason I made my choice.
As for the middle age spread so far I have not gained any weight so fingers crossed this will not happen.
You may want to check out the posting on Undergoing treatment: hormone therapy, tamoxifen etc.: Increase in libido on Tamoxifen anyone?!! this may answer your question in some way.
Good luck in what ever you decided to do
I'm 32 - I just had a mastectomy for a second occurrence of primary BC. First time round I was triple negative so none of this was an option but I did go through a mini-menopause on chemo when my periods stopped for 6 months during Taxol - was relieved to get them back. Had a few flushes and put on a tiny bit of weight at the time but lost it all again once I was better.
Latest cancer is highly ER & PR+ (bizarre!) - SO this week I started Tamoxifen but now my consultant has asked me to consider Zoladex & Arimidex instead (I'm soooo confused!). At 32 I'd far rather have a reversible option. Partly cos I'm single with no kids and would like to have the option back in 5 years time, but also I'm really worried about the effect it could have on my sex life - anyone care to comment? I really hope to meet someone in the next few years and ALL of these options sound like they're really going to mess my system up - I know this sounds trivial but can you have a normal sex life whilst on Tamoxifen, Zoladex and/or Arimidex???? And am I definately going to experience Middle Age spread???
I had BC last year aged 26. 6 x FEC followed by 33 rad. luckily no further treatment (ie. herceptin,tamoxifen) was needed. I had IVF treatment to preserve embryos before starting chemo. this was not pleasent as I had to inject myself 2 times aday everyday aswell as tabletand every 3 days a internal scan. Anyway after that had Zoladex injections throughout chemo. I was very lucky and had my injections given by nurses who were aware of my fear of needles and realxed me before the injection. You can also ask your doctor for EMLA crean to numb the area before injection is given. Hoestly i could not feel a thing. As for side effects the were not severe, occasion headaches, a little weight gain, the worst was hot flushes, which are just annoying more than anything.
I suppose the choice depends on each person and thier circumstances. Hope this helps. I wish you all the best for the future.
I cant say I have noticed any difference although it is still early days, the hot flushes are not to bad during the day as I can stand outside to cool down and they are not as frequent, the night flushes are irritating as they wake me up but no different to when I was on the zoladex injections, it was my personal choice to have my ovaries removed as my aunt is terminal with ovarian cancer and I did have a fear that I would get this so having them out was a relief for me.
I did not like having zoladex injections but I don't like needles I did find them a little painful but I never had a local anaesthetic as some do.
Hope this helps you
Thanks so much for getting back to me. My onc never said much about zoladex being problematic, just that he wanted to try drugs first as if they didn't work at least they're reversible and we can then try the next option, which would be ablation or removal. To those who have taken zoladex, are the menopause symptoms worse on the drug than if you had your ovaries removed. When I suggestd having my ovaries removed, he seemed to think this would plunge me into a sudden menopause with all the symptoms - thing is i am already having hot flushes after having chemo - and i guess we have to go through it at some stage. My biggest worry is the amount of oestrogen in my body and getting rid of it for good. Debra, have you noticed a sudden menopause since your op - do you feel it's better than having the zoladex? I think I may just have them all removed, and the womb... it's all less things to worry about later on I guess isn't it!! Thanks so much for your advice. Carrie
I had zoladex for 2 years and stopped last year to have chemo I found having the injection in the same place each time helped with discomfort I think the tissue under the skin hardened and they were painfree after the first few, within the month of stopping my periods where back!
Ovary abolition hasnt been mentioned to me but this is something I want to talk to my onc about, I dont feel safe with all this oestrogen raging around inside!! ( Im 36 by the way!! )
I am 42 and was dx with bc on the 19 December 2007, had lumpectomy 10 January 2008, further surgery for shaving 21 February 2008, bc was grade 2 ER+ and no nodes involved, was told that I would need chemo and radiotherapy along with 5 years on tamoxifen.
I went to my first oncologist appointment were he offered me the choice of chemo or my ovaries removed, I jumped at the chance of having my ovaries removed so on the 6 March 2008 just 12 days ago I had my ovaries and tubes removed but have kept my womb as the consultant said that there was no need to remove this, I was in some pain for a few days but am feeling much better today, I have had hot flushes witch get worse at night but I have had these for some time as I was given Zoladex whilst waiting for my ovaries to be removed, I have to say that having Zoladex was not a nice experience and like Anne has said I could not wait to have my ovaries out and do not regret the decision I made. Will be starting radiotherapy soon which will be the last part of my treatment.
If you have any questions just ask.
Hi my gynea will not give me the ablation due to any possible risks of tamoxifen causing other gynea cancers, the ablation will mask any developments till quite late on!!! im planning to have full hysterectomy with overies removed im 35!!!
I have had confusing advice but as another younger woman with breast cancer pointed out why go through the menopause twice? ie when you come off the drugs, i think it has to be your decision though
Personally, I would jump at the chance of permanent removal rather than Zoladex!!! 1 op compared to all those belly stabbings!!!
Had WLE (22mm lump) in June 2000. CMF, rads, Zoladex and 5 years Tamoxifen.(aged 34)
DX in Aug 2007 with bony mets. Rads, Tamoxifen, Zoladex and Zometa.(aged 41)
Repeat scans in Jan 2008, reveal spread - still in bones.
I am ER+, PR+ and HER2-
Blood levels still show high - so, still pre-menopausal even though Zoladex every 4 weeks.
Next move is to have ovaries out and move on to Arimidex.
My op is booked for 11 April - and I dont think that the Gynae-bloke could believe that I could get so excited about having my ovaries out!!
Side effects that I have are hot flushes (but dont tend to be too bad in the day) and dry girlie-bits!!
I saw my onc yesterday and as I am oestrogen dominant we need to decide what to do about the ovaries. Just wondered if anyone had had an ovarian ablation, or anyone was having the zoladex injections with arimidex. I can't decide whether to go for a full hysterectomy (for fibroids) and have the ovaries taken away, or to have them switched off with zoladex. I guess it all depends on the side effects. would be good to hear of people's experiences either way. I am 39 by the way. Many thanks, Carrie x