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Menopause and breast cancer

Menopause and breast cancer

Posted by Mammamia on Jun 5, 2020 3:36 pm

Hi there I hope I can get some answers as I am struggling. I was diagnosed with stage 2 idc breast cancer back in August before that I new I was brca 1 positive because both my mother and sister had ovarian cancer. I opted for the oopherectomy removal of my ovaries and then after suffering for a few months of Insomnia, hot flashes and night sweats mood o had to go on hrt that was six years ago. I did come off in October before I started chemo I was not so bad but after all my treatments ended back in March I started to get those severe menopause symptoms again. Its contraindicationes to give hrt to me now because of the prior diagnosis of breast cancer but I can’t live like this I fought too hard to not live now my life is horrible to say the least. I can’t do a thing drs want me all drugged up on antidepressants, sleeping pills and benzodiazepines no way that’s won’t fix it it will make it worse. I’m not crazy I’m menopausal. My question is had any other women here have this issue and now in hrt even after having breast cancer. I’m 48 by the way and had my ovaries out at 43. Help ?! 

Re: Menopause and breast cancer

Posted by Kims1961 on Jun 5, 2020 8:07 pm

Mammamia‍  Sorry to hear about the hot flashes and how they are disrupting your life.  What treatments have you done, if you don't mind me asking.  You mentioned chemo - did you also have surgery? radiation? 

I was also diagnosed with IDC in Aug. 2017, ER+ and HER2+.  After surgery, chemo, radiation, I continued on Herceptin for a year and Letrozole.  I had very challenging side effects on Letrozole.  I worked with my oncologist to find a solution, but she ended up switching me to tamoxifen.  Surprisingly, the hot flashes have improved.  Everyone is different, so I think this is worth a conversation with your medical team again.  You also mentioned some other medications and maybe reviewing all of these would help, with symptom management.

It may be worth asking for a medication review from a psychiatrist, if you are on anti-depressants and benzodiazepines?  Certainly worthy of a discussion given the level of distress you are experiencing.

One thing that helped me was I charted on a calendar my symptoms and their severity.  So when I met with the doctor, I brought my calendar and showed her the frequency and impact it was having on my well being.

Please keep us posted on how you are doing.  Kim
Her2+, ER+ Bilateral mastectomy in 2017, followed by chemo and radiation. Mack and Hannah's mom

Re: Menopause and breast cancer

Posted by Mammamia on Jun 5, 2020 9:06 pm

Hi Kim. I had bilateral mastectomy, chemo and radiation. I was on hrt because I went into surgical menopause five years earlier  but I had to come off. Now i have insomnia again it’s been 8 weeks I feel horrible. So many more problems but dr just wants me to take drugs that don’t fix the underline problem. I had triple negative cancer in one breast was very small not caused by estrogen . 

Re: Menopause and breast cancer

Posted by Essjay on Jun 6, 2020 2:47 pm

Hi Mammamia‍ I too had triple negative breast cancer, and premature menopause (later 30’s due to premature ovarian failure). Despite my cancer being non hormonal my oncologist won’t allow me to have HRT as my risk of another breast cancer is higher than average...we have discussed vaginal estrogen (e-string), which will help keep my lady parts healthy but it won’t do anything for the other symptoms. I’m 51 and I still have hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disturbance, restless legs. One thing I’ve found that has helped with the night sweats is to take Claritin at night (the 24 hour non-drowsy one), and my sleep has improved since I discovered this a couple of months ago. In the past I have had some success taking low dose clonidine for the night sweats, restless legs, sleep disturbance and migraines and it was great, but my BP is too low for that now. I haven’t tried antidepresssants, but I have heard they are pretty good for the flushes. I can set a clock by mine - I prepare by taking off clothes, turning on a fan, turning on A.C., and breathing through them.
A big risk we face is osteoporosis. HRT helps prevent bone loss...I found I was osteopenic during cancer treatment and had compression fractures, a damaged rib and nerve damage from an incident with my dog. I was put on Zometa infusions every 6 months but I am not tolerating them. I have been active all my life, but I’ve upped the weight bearing stuff - I’m running and weight training, and I take vitamin D and calcium supplements.

Sorry, there are no easy answers.

Essjay xx
Triple Negative Breast Cancer survivor since July 2018

Re: Menopause and breast cancer

Posted by Mammamia on Jun 6, 2020 3:22 pm

Thanks for sharing. My oncologist also will not but how do we cope. Mine isn’t because  I have hot flashes it’s just my body won’t fall asleep anymore 0 sleep unless I take a sleeping pill then I sleep maybe three four hours. I took gabaoentin for six months and it helped a lot and then stopped  working. Or maybe it never works er it was just that the chemo knocked me out and the the pain killers and anti nausea pills put me out. 

Re: Menopause and breast cancer

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Jun 7, 2020 9:25 am

Mammamia‍ , You might ask your doctors or pharmacist about other potential sleep aids, especially if you’re concerned about being on sleeping pills long-term.

Admittedly, I’m a “lightweight” when it comes to medications, but when I’m having trouble sleeping, I’ve found Gravol to be effective. I hope you can find a solution.
“When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” - Japanese saying

Re: Menopause and breast cancer

Posted by Mammamia on Jun 7, 2020 10:20 am

Thank u 

Re: Menopause and breast cancer

Posted by Mammamia on Jun 7, 2020 10:30 am

Every day u take it and how many 

Re: Menopause and breast cancer

Posted by AngelaC on Jul 28, 2020 9:46 am

Mammamia‍ I was diagnosed in December, so went off estrogen and started experiencing hot flashes etc again.  Over the past few months, it has gotten worse, probably cause I’m using up whatever estrogen is still left in my body.  Sometimes 20 a day and now I get a headache after each one.    I am already on antidepressants for anxiety and even though they are often used off-label for hot flashes, aren’t helping me in that regard.   I have taken a sleeping pill for years to help me get some quality sleep as even though on a high dose of estrogen, I still experienced night sweats, restless legs etc.  also I have fibromyalgia so sleep is crucial -  I just cant mentally or physically function without sleep.    Like you I am so overwhelmed, and willing to do anything, even contemplated going back on HRT, cause I need quality of life as well.    I have been talking with my doctor re possible meds given all the side effects and after doing more searching asked my doctor last week to try oxybutynin (overactive bladder med) as I have read it can reduce hot flashes up to 80%.  She has agreed to a trial.  Because of the lack of estrogen, I am experiencing lots more joint pain and urinary issues. When I have to go, I have to run.   Sometimes I can’t run that fast lol.  I Just started the meds yesterday and I am praying they work.   I come by hormonal issues genetically, my poor mom suffered and was on hormones till age 74 until she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  

Re: Menopause and breast cancer

Posted by Mammamia on Jul 28, 2020 10:33 am

It’s not easy Angela I too have sometimes 20 of them. I’m seeing a natropath and still with all that it only helps a bit. I found if u watch what I wat non sugar no alcohol and no caffeine I’m better. I’ve been using a sleep spray from arbonne and it’s working to help me sleep if your interested I can tell you more and they have a 45 day money back quarantee. I can give u more info if u like. It doesn’t help hot flashes unfortunately