Aromatase Inhibitors: Did you decide to go on them or not?

Posted by nanato6 @nanato6, Oct 12, 2018

Nanaloves: I’m about to start arimidex and just feel that the contraindications , bone issues etc. are overwhelming. I’m 70 years old, dodged a bullet I feel with zero stage DCIS but the follow up is pretty much no different then if it was more aggressive. I’ve just done 33 treatments of radiation and now they advise arimidex as a preventative. I’m not sure with the beginnings of arthritis and lower back. sensitivity already that I should take it. Anyone not take it and not have a recurrence within the 5 years.

@windyshores

Tamoxifen is not an aromatase inhibitor.

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You're correct. There are 3 different types of hormonal therapy medicines used in the treatment of hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers.:
1. aromatase inhibitors:
– Arimidex (anastrozole)
– Aromasin (exemestane)
– Femara (letrozole)

2. SERMs (selective estrogen receptor modulators):
– tamoxifen
– Evista (raloxifene)
– Fareston (toremifene)

3. ERDs (estrogen receptor downregulators):
– Faslodex (fulvestrant)

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Here are some additional resources to help understand the Oncotype DX tests and calculating risk of recurrence.

– Oncotype DX Genomic Tests https://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/testing/types/oncotype_dx
Excerpt:
"Most early-stage, estrogen-receptor-positive, HER2-negative breast cancers are treated with hormonal therapies, such as an aromatase inhibitor or tamoxifen, after surgery to reduce the risk that the cancer will come back in the future. Whether or not chemotherapy is also necessary has been an area of uncertainty for patients and their doctors.

If you’ve been diagnosed with early-stage, estrogen-receptor-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer, the Oncotype DX Breast Recurrence Score Test can help you and your doctor make a more informed decision about whether or not you will benefit from chemotherapy."

– Online Calculator Helps Predict Risk of Hormone-Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer Returning Elsewhere in the Body https://www.breastcancer.org/research-news/online-tool-predicts-hr-pos-recurrence-risk
Excerpt:
"Studies have shown that estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer has a more drawn-out risk of recurrence compared to estrogen-receptor-negative disease. About 50% of estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer recurrences happen 5 or more years after the initial diagnosis. Most estrogen-receptor-negative disease recurrences happen within the first 5 years after initial diagnosis."
"Research has shown that about 25% of women who are prescribed hormonal therapy to reduce the risk of recurrence after breast cancer surgery either don’t start taking the medicine or stop taking it early. In many cases, this is because of side effects."

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@windyshores

Tamoxifen is not an aromatase inhibitor.

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You are corect, I frequently, mistakenly lump them all together. I should refer to them as endocrine therapy.

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Has anyone tried natural inhibitors like DIM or grape seed extract?

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@casinodawg

Has anyone tried natural inhibitors like DIM or grape seed extract?

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For many of us the mainstream medications work and are not hard to take. I understand the fear and desire to "go natural" but for me, the fear of cancer recurrence or spread was too great to take that chance. I respect others' choices but hope they are not based on a fear of medications that might be a needless fear.

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@windyshores

For many of us the mainstream medications work and are not hard to take. I understand the fear and desire to "go natural" but for me, the fear of cancer recurrence or spread was too great to take that chance. I respect others' choices but hope they are not based on a fear of medications that might be a needless fear.

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I agree with this. A lot of people are fearful because people have written so much about the issues, but the larger percentage of people never post because they don’t have big issues. I hope that those who choose natural are reall choosing it and not making a fearful decision.

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@casinodawg

Has anyone tried natural inhibitors like DIM or grape seed extract?

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I am on DIM and oncoplex , I was on tamoxifen for 9 mos and got every horrible side effect so Dr took me off of it 10/13 , I still feel horrible !!! A couple of weeks after my final reconstruction, which is next week , she wants to try Arimidex, she was worried about giving me this one to begin with because of the joint pains it causes & she was worried it would affect my career (massage therapist). I for sure don’t want a recurrence but it’s also about quality of life. I couldn’t imagine 4/12 more years of such horror
I am praying my body tolerates arimidex

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@brinacarmen

I am on DIM and oncoplex , I was on tamoxifen for 9 mos and got every horrible side effect so Dr took me off of it 10/13 , I still feel horrible !!! A couple of weeks after my final reconstruction, which is next week , she wants to try Arimidex, she was worried about giving me this one to begin with because of the joint pains it causes & she was worried it would affect my career (massage therapist). I for sure don’t want a recurrence but it’s also about quality of life. I couldn’t imagine 4/12 more years of such horror
I am praying my body tolerates arimidex

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If you exercise, with, say, a walk, continue past 20 minutes. The pain eases and by 45 minutes I feel better. My doc told me she hears this from a lot of patients.

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@windyshores

If you exercise, with, say, a walk, continue past 20 minutes. The pain eases and by 45 minutes I feel better. My doc told me she hears this from a lot of patients.

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Hi thanks for the reply. I do that and more (I’m a personal trainer ) & it doesn’t help. I worked out all thru chemo (24 rounds ) & didn’t feel 1/4 as horrible as tamoxifen made me feel , it’s the debilitating fatigue and bloating & the depression that’s still has me down and out And no I’m not taking an antidepressant to deal with tamoxifen. I am now almost 4 weeks without it and Dr wants to see how I do without it for at least 8 weeks. To make sure it’s the tamoxifen that has me like this or my body is just not recovering from treatment as fast ? Chemo ended 6/16. Then lat flap 7/20
I am praying my body renews itself

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@brinacarmen

Hi thanks for the reply. I do that and more (I’m a personal trainer ) & it doesn’t help. I worked out all thru chemo (24 rounds ) & didn’t feel 1/4 as horrible as tamoxifen made me feel , it’s the debilitating fatigue and bloating & the depression that’s still has me down and out And no I’m not taking an antidepressant to deal with tamoxifen. I am now almost 4 weeks without it and Dr wants to see how I do without it for at least 8 weeks. To make sure it’s the tamoxifen that has me like this or my body is just not recovering from treatment as fast ? Chemo ended 6/16. Then lat flap 7/20
I am praying my body renews itself

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I started a lower dose tamoxifen three weeks ago, taking 5 – 10mg daily. Bloating and vaginal discharge have become new SEs for me. They are tolerable to avoid recurrence, but I worry about endometrial thickening and cancer. I am not sure what to do and will talk it over with my oncologist at our next meeting. I do not want to take an AI because of bone and cardiac health issues. Raloxifene, another SERM but without endometrial problems, is only approved for prevention. DIM, or other natural alternatives, sounds great but its true effectiveness is unknown. Apparently there may be a new DNA testing process to determine whether early stage estrogen positive cancer patients need endocrine adjuvant therapy. Anybody heard of this?

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@brinacarmen

Hi thanks for the reply. I do that and more (I’m a personal trainer ) & it doesn’t help. I worked out all thru chemo (24 rounds ) & didn’t feel 1/4 as horrible as tamoxifen made me feel , it’s the debilitating fatigue and bloating & the depression that’s still has me down and out And no I’m not taking an antidepressant to deal with tamoxifen. I am now almost 4 weeks without it and Dr wants to see how I do without it for at least 8 weeks. To make sure it’s the tamoxifen that has me like this or my body is just not recovering from treatment as fast ? Chemo ended 6/16. Then lat flap 7/20
I am praying my body renews itself

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Sorry I was referring to Femara, not Tamoxifen. And I did not have chemo or reconstruction so my body had less to deal with.

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@brinacarmen

Hi thanks for the reply. I do that and more (I’m a personal trainer ) & it doesn’t help. I worked out all thru chemo (24 rounds ) & didn’t feel 1/4 as horrible as tamoxifen made me feel , it’s the debilitating fatigue and bloating & the depression that’s still has me down and out And no I’m not taking an antidepressant to deal with tamoxifen. I am now almost 4 weeks without it and Dr wants to see how I do without it for at least 8 weeks. To make sure it’s the tamoxifen that has me like this or my body is just not recovering from treatment as fast ? Chemo ended 6/16. Then lat flap 7/20
I am praying my body renews itself

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Hi, I am taking Anastrozole for 2 yrs so far. I was doing ok I thought, as I listen to my body, & try not to buy into the side effects. I didn’t even read about them for the longest time. Just about 3-4 months ago, I started having such achyness that I felt older than my years. I had a hip pain bad mouth doctor took X-rays just to make sure. Mid October I stopped the Anastrozole as my quality of life was being affected & I wanted to see if the med was causing. It’s been 3 weeks & I feel so much better. In all fairness to med – I’m thinking the hip pain ‘May’ be from a disc issue that I’m having. 🤷‍♀️
I see my oncologist end of November- so we will see what he has to say.

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