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Thread: bc treated, but not menopausal yet-- doc says hysterectomy?

  1. #1

    bc treated, but not menopausal yet-- doc says hysterectomy?

    I'm only 49 and just completed 6 weeks of radiation for a small breast cancer tumor. Doctor prescribed Armidex, but after I did some research on my own, I found that both it and tamoxifen are for post-menopausal women, which I'm not.
    When I called the doctor about it, he said, "Oh, I wasn't aware that you weren't through menopause (which I know I did tell him - twice!). So he says "Well, you need to have a hysterectomy or radiation to your ovaries or we can give you a pill every three months to induce menopause).
    I find this hard to believe! I'm sure there's a lot of women out there much younger than me who have had breast cancer but didn't have to be "manually" forced through menopause!
    I have placed calls to other cancer organizations to get some answers, but I haven't gotten any response yet.
    Has anybody encountered this situation? Any advice? Any suggestions on who else to call?

    Thanks
    Pam

  2. #2
    Hi Pam, welcome to the board. Sorry you need to be here, and sorrier yet that you are in such a difficult situation. I know that Tamoxifen is sometimes prescribed for women who are not in menopause. I have a Michigan "breast friend" who is in her late 30s and is just finishing her 5 yrs on tamoxifen -- and she is certainly not menopausal. I certainly would not think that you need a hysterectomy when nothing is wrong with your uterus or ovaries. Oncs sometimes put women into "chemo-pause" during treatment using drugs to shut down the production of hormones. I suspect this is what your doctor referred to when he suggested a pill every three months. We have gals here at every stage of treatment and at every age, so I am sure you will hear from some of them. In addition, one or both our our resident doctors may respond to your questions. Here is an excellent web site with information on Tamoxifen.

    http://www.imaginis.com/breasthealth...en.asp#what_is

    Good luck. Lauri
    Diagnosed 4/11/1996
    Lumpectomy, 6 mm tumor
    Neg. nodes
    ER/PR+
    33 rads
    Tamoxifen, 5 yrs.
    NED

  3. #3
    Hi,
    I was 43 when dx and since I wasn't MENTALpausal, the onco put me on Tamoxifen which is for ladies that are NOT through menopause. After 6 months once I completed treatment and I never had a period again, he did a blood test to determine that chemo had put me into menopause and then I was switched to Arimidex. He is right, Arimidex is for post menopausal ladies only, but Tamoxifen is for ladies who are not post. I asked my onco about having my ovaries removed to get rid of more hormones since I was Stage III, young and high risk and there was nothing that pointed him in the direction that it would be a benefit to me and saw no reason to put me through that.
    I have heard of ladies that were given something and put into menopause, but if I remember, they were the ones that hadn't had a period in a year and were on Arimidex and since that is only for post menopausal ladies, they were given whatever the med was to put them into menopause so they could continue the Arimidex.
    It's all so confusing. Best wishes
    Nancy
    Nancy
    2/14/02 ILC 43 - 5.5 cm 9+/16 nodes
    Stage IIIA er/pr+ Her2-
    2/02 MRM
    FECx6 radsx33
    Tamoxifen - Arimidex (chemo induced menopause)
    4/03 SM w/bilat. recon.
    9/03 expanders removed
    5/04 repair reconst. disaster
    10/04 Actonel for bone/joint pain from Arimidex
    NED - 5 years
    3/07 Diabetes
    In memory of Kim 12/1/04

  4. #4
    Nancy, it is interesting that my onc put me on tamoxifen even thought I had not had a period in more than 2 years. My PCP told me I was not technically in menopause, but I had stopped menstruating. Puzzling, indeed. Lauri
    Diagnosed 4/11/1996
    Lumpectomy, 6 mm tumor
    Neg. nodes
    ER/PR+
    33 rads
    Tamoxifen, 5 yrs.
    NED

  5. #5
    That is strange. I had always heard from other ladies that their docs told them if they hadn't had a period in one year, they were considered post menopausal. Of course because of my age and it had only been 6 months since treatment, he did the blood test to see if I was post or not. I asked the lab tech how they could tell and he said there would be one hormone either present or not, can't remember which, and that would tell them. I couldn't have switched had I not had that blood test to Arimidex.

    I'm still amazed at the GYNs that try to put BC survivors who are er/pr+ on HRT.
    Nancy
    2/14/02 ILC 43 - 5.5 cm 9+/16 nodes
    Stage IIIA er/pr+ Her2-
    2/02 MRM
    FECx6 radsx33
    Tamoxifen - Arimidex (chemo induced menopause)
    4/03 SM w/bilat. recon.
    9/03 expanders removed
    5/04 repair reconst. disaster
    10/04 Actonel for bone/joint pain from Arimidex
    NED - 5 years
    3/07 Diabetes
    In memory of Kim 12/1/04

  6. #6
    Senior User
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    162
    Laurie ~ I was always told/read that not having a period for a year signified that you were post menopausal. Now I'm confused.

    Hugs,

    Margie

  7. #7
    Regular User
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    21

    hormone therapy

    Pam -
    Tamoxifen is for pre- AND post-menopausal women......Aromatase inhibitors (of which arimidex is but one) are for post-menopausal women only.It is that simple.

    You can take tamoxifen right now without anything else being "done" to you.
    You could get ovarian ablation or zoladex shots to shut down your ovaries if you wish to take arimidex.

    Most pre-menopausal women are on tamoxifen.(There are usually other circumstances where ovarian shut-down + an aromatase inhibitor is recommended).

    Sam
    dx bc Oct 2001
    tx - mast, chemo(FEC+taxotere), 25 rads.Now on tamoxifen

  8. #8
    Experienced User
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    59
    Hi everybody,
    This topic aways confuses me. First like Sam says, Tamox is for pre-menopausal women. If your doctor feels strongly about using the arimidex there is a lupron shot that can shut down your ovaries. I choose not to do this because I didn't want to mess around with anything else in my body.
    I am 44 and was dx in when I was 42 and chemo put me in menopause. However I would like to also say that someone else mentioned on this thread that you are likely considered post menopausal if you have no period for a year. Well I had no period for 15 or so months, then the flood gates opened and my GYN tested my hormone levels and I came back pre-menopausal. I had my period for three months now I have missed it again for almost 3 months. MY GYN ran the hormone levels again and I came back as still pre-menopausal. So, you always have a chance of getting back your period if you went into forced menopause with the chemo if you are a young age.
    So, right now I will stay on the tamox for the full five years and switch over to the Arimidex and have that for a full five years.
    Kristen

  9. #9

    re: tamox, arimedex, hysterectomy?

    Hey, everyone!
    Thanks for getting back to me on my question. I have tried all the cancer associations, the Y-Me hotline and other docs, but this is the first time anyone has told me anything that half-way makes sense.
    I handled the initial diagnosis really well and went through radiation pretty smoothly. But this other stuff has me a little frustrated. It's scary to think had I not done my own research, I wouldn't even have known I shouldn't be on the prescribed med or that I needed to do something about shutting down my ovaries.
    It makes me wonder what else the doctor didn't tell me that will be a problem down the road.
    Please keep writing and if you think of any more advice -- I'm all ears.

    Thanks

    Pam

  10. #10
    Glad you got the help you were looking for, Pam. You just keep asking questions, and we will do what we can for you. Remember, you are not alone. Lauri
    Diagnosed 4/11/1996
    Lumpectomy, 6 mm tumor
    Neg. nodes
    ER/PR+
    33 rads
    Tamoxifen, 5 yrs.
    NED

 

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