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1 day ago · Findings in recent mamogram?? in Breast Cancer

Different machines often give different readings. You might want to return to the same machine next time for a better comparison. (It's a factor with bone scans, too.)

2 days ago · Portal vein thrombosis (PVT) after breast cancer treatments in Breast Cancer

I can so relate. Anastrozole has made me lose weight, despite doing nothing differently… about a pound or so a month. My oncologist is frustrated not understanding the cause of the weight loss. I have noted that I have another friend who had the same reaction to it, but he dismisses the anecdote. I don't mind the weight loss for the time being, but in another year, it may be just too much… and then what?

2 days ago · Portal vein thrombosis (PVT) after breast cancer treatments in Breast Cancer

@trixie1313 @cfacarol
I always was a great sleeper until chemo, and then that went out the window. It's been almost two years now and, for me, I need afternoon exercise and one mg. of melatonin at bedtime; otherwise, like Trixie, I'm awake by 2:30-3:00 a.m. I tried weening myself off the melatonin to no avail. Yes, it likely is the anastrozole playing havoc with my system… I am considering switching to letrozole to see if the arthralgia would be lessoned, but as I'm supposed to be on an AI for 7-10 years, I hesitate to take a steroid. No one seems to have studied what it's like to go off of it (or any of the AIs) after that length of time.

4 days ago · Concern over Gadiolinum dye in MRIs in Breast Cancer

I, too, had concerns over the use of a gadiolinum contrast dye (as I seem to react to so many agents) when told to get an MRI. I don't know whether this is helpful or not, but I learned that the FDA has approved nine different gadiolinum contrasts (GBCAs) in the U.S., one of which (gadobutrol or Gadavist) seems to have the least issues. It turned out that this is what was being used at my hospital, so I relented, and didn't have a problem.

I subsequently learned, however, with repeated GBCA administrations, gadiolinum can deposit in the brain, skin, bones, liver, and other organs, even if the patient has normal renal function. The clinical implication of the gadolinium deposition in the brain remains poorly understood and studied.

And that's "the thing" for me: doctors prescribe a lot of procedures which haven't been well-studied, and they rarely understand the potential implications themselves. In the meantime, patients are left wondering if their part in all this is as guinea pigs. If I were in your shoes, I would grill my oncologist and head of hospital radiology on whether the MRI wouldn't be almost as effective without using the contrast agent.

Blessings to you on your difficult decision-making.

Thu, Oct 31 6:14pm · Findings in recent mamogram?? in Breast Cancer

Dense breast tissue is always a problem for radiologists… there sometimes are false positive results (hence radiological descriptions like "suspicious," etc.) For me, the follow-ups were additional 3-D views and an ultrasound for comparison, and then a core biopsy.

Wed, Oct 30 1:32pm · Concerned about the side effects of anastrozole in Breast Cancer

That's the key thing, isn't it… sharing our experiences alerts and educates us to get help when needed! Thank you for your post,

Sat, Oct 26 6:36pm · Switching Aromatase Inhibitors: Questions about $ and drug plan in Breast Cancer

I don't know if this will be helpful or not, but in the Nov. 1, 2019 issue of BottomLine Personal is an article entitled "Best Medicare Advantage Plans" and, in the opinion of James Beem MHA, MA, managing director of global health-care intelligence at the data-and-analytics firm J.D. Power. they are 1) Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, 2) Highmark, 3) Humana, 4) Aetna, 5) Centene, 6) Anthem, 7) United Healthcare, and 8) Cigna HealthSpring.

Sat, Oct 26 12:51pm · Switching Aromatase Inhibitors: Questions about $ and drug plan in Breast Cancer

@cfacarol @trixie1313
You have touched on one of the nightmares in American healthcare — finding a drug plan which is functional for one's needs and is affordable. (I have an employer-negotiated plan with OptumRx via UHC's Medicare Advantage, for example, which charges $14 for a 90-day supply of exemestane (which I don't take) and anastrozole (which I do take)). I went to the UHC site and searched Medicare Advantage Plans for St. John's County in Florida to use as an example which is perhaps close to your home. It notes 19 plans for that county, and that is from just a single provider (UHC). So you can see how daunting it is for shoppers. And, one would want to compare the drug plans to Medicare's Part D (which one has to pay for anyway, even when opting for a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement Plan). The mind boggles….

One thought is to call UHC (and other providers) and ask if their drug plans change for their various Medicare Advantage plans?