Thursday, April 23, 2009

Waiting for results & Estrogen therapy

I had a CT scan of my lungs and abdomen this week and probably won’t get the results until my mid-May oncology appointment. I could call and ask for the results before then, but I’d rather just put them out of my mind for now.

I think I’ve come to accept that I will have good results and bad results along the way and I don’t expect either to drastically change the outcome. I don’t mean that in a pessimistic way; it’s just how advanced cancer treatment works. You go for a period of time where the drug you are on is working and, when it is no longer effective, you move on to something else. I’d rather spend the time when the drugs are working enjoying life, rather than worrying about what’s next.

Not worrying about what’s next is different than not thinking about it. I’ve been reading about a study using hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for some women with advanced estrogen positive breast cancer, which is my situation. HRT has always been a big no-no for anyone who has, or is worried about getting, breast cancer. But for those of us who have become resistant to aromatase inhibitors (AIs), estrogen therapy may offer an opportunity to reverse that resistance.

In a study conducted by Washington University School of Medicine, they found that estrogen therapy can sometimes stop the growth of tumors for a period of time and even cause them to shrink. The estrogen can even improve the quality of life by reducing hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause.

The best part is that the estrogen can possibly return metastatic tumors to a vulnerable state. Resistance to AI therapy was previously thought to be permanent, but the estrogen can make it possible for AIs to work again in some cases.

Because I have become resistant to both Femera and Aromasin, I definitely plan to talk to my doctor about this study at my next appointment.

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