I came back from my last oncologist appointment (Monday) feeling a little down. The visit was good. We made a solid plan of action that addresses both breast cancer prevention (hormone therapy) and treatment for osteopenia (low bone density). I was fine until I asked the question “so how long would I need to be on the hormone therapy?” … the answer I got back was “for you, 10 years”. So I’m bummed. I had hoped with the switch aromatase inhibitors that it would drop down to 5 years.
The good news is that the latest research (of about two weeks ago) is showing that Aromatase Inhibitors (AI) plus denosumab once every six months decreases the risk of hormone positive breast cancer recurrence. Upon hearing this, I tried to look it up. I didn’t find anything. However, I decided early on that I trust my oncologist. He is the expert. He is the one going to the academic and clinical practice conferences. And so, I now have a plan. I’m still taking Lupron once every three months to ensure that my ovaries are not producing estrogen, then in the new year (actually February) I’ll begin taking an aromatase inhibitor which stops my body from converting androgen to estrogen, reducing the amount of estrogen in my body even further. It looks like Breastcancer.org have recently updated their page on aromatase inhibitors as it now references a 2015 study. I’ll add in the denosumab once I’m stable on the AIs and once my foot has finished healing (In January I’m having a minor surgery to clean the arthritis and bone spur on my toe).
I’ll be adding one thing at a time, so that I can figure out which has side effects for what. I’m encouraged that the AI is said to have less side effects then tamoxifen. I have very few / minor side effects with the Lupron. I’m just hoping I don’t end up with crazy headaches like I did on tamoxifen. That was not fun and truly began to drive me crazy.
I try to look on the bright side. I try to think that this is my ‘protection’. I feel a twinge of guilt because I have something that provides that protection and yet I really don’t want to have to take it – unlike a friend who has triple negative breast cancer and was recently diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer – at least I have something that might provide some protection. However, I also think it totally sucks to have to be on medication for 10 years. It sucks to be thrust into enforced menopause before my time. It has me kind of bummed out …