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medical menopause

7fergie
Posts: 19
Joined: Dec 2002

My 4th and/or 5th round of chemo started me into medical menopause. Just finished 6th and last round of CEF and the FSH test determined for sure that I am in menopause. When a woman is early in menopause like I am, the ovaries are not totally shutdown, right? Doesn't that happen after she's been in it a while--it's not immediate right? I want to get my ovaries shut down so I can take Arimidex but don't need to get them shut down if they are fully down anyway but it doesn't make sense to me that it'd happen this quick. Want to get rid of as much estrogen as possible since my BC is estrogen and progesterone+ . 4th round was about April 14 and 5th was May 2 with 6th May23. Long enough to be totally shutdown already?

7fergie

sandytrif525's picture
sandytrif525
Posts: 107
Joined: Jan 2003

Hi Fergie, I stopped getting my periods after my first chemo AC. So far I have been off chemo since August 2002 and on Tamoxifin since March 2002. I was never given a test to see if my ovaries are shut down. I was 41 when started, now am 43. sandy

prayerangel
Posts: 150
Joined: Jun 2002

My first BC was estrogen positive, less than 2 years later had BC in 2nd breast. Since I had been pushed into early menopause because of the treatments, my tests now showed I was estrogen negative and could go on the Tamoxifen. They wouldn't allow me to go on the drug unless my bloodwork showed for sure I was negative. I never heard of the terms you described about ovaries shutting down. It took me quite awhile to finish going through the menopause. At least a year. Have you had a bone density test? I had to go on Fosamax for my bones. Best of luck.

ksfc
Posts: 252
Joined: Apr 2002

Like Sandy, my periods stopped during chemo(AC).
I've now been on Tamoxifen since Sept. 02. My cancer was ER+. I was 45 when diagnosed and just turned 47. I haven't had any other tests to determine menopause.
Diane

Marymomof3
Posts: 24
Joined: Apr 2003

I asked my gynecologist if he could determine whether or not I was in "permanent" menopause after chemo, my last treatment of A/C and period was Jan 03. He said if he tested me right now, it might show menopause, but that my hormone levels might change over time, so that it would be impossible to determine if it was "permanent" from one test. The only way to be sure is wait 2 years to see if my period returns. I'm 42 and am taking tamoxifen. Are you referring to the drug goserelin for shutting down the ovaries? The research I've seen shows no difference in overall survival between taking goserelin vs. tamoxifen in premenopausal women. I don't know about Arimidex. Your oncologist should be able to tell you if that would work for you. Mary

inkblot
Posts: 705
Joined: Jul 2001

Hi:

I think that an Estradiol test (sp?) should tell your doctor's how much, if any etrogen your body is still producing.

I also stopped having periods after my first AC chemo and my chemopause is now considered permanent. I have to share that I don't miss periods at all. Rather nice, not having that monthly fooling around anymore!

As I understand it, even though we may be in "chemopause", our ovaries still continue to produce small amounts of estrogen and that's why many women have them removed, post treatment, particularly if they were hormone positive at dx. My tumor was hormone neg. and I still have my ovaries and of course, do not take aromatase inhibitors. However, my ovaries are just sitting there in my body, doing nothing good for me and could even be doing harm by producing those trace amounts of estrogen! It's something to think about!

Even through a normal menopause process, my doctor says that the ovaries continue to produce small amounts of estrogen for years. For how many years, probably is different for each woman.

I'm wondering though: If you have your ovaries
"shut down" or removed, then why would you need to take Arimidex? Would it serve any purpose once your ovaries are producing zero estrogen? It is my understanding that Tamox. and Arimidex serve only to block estrogen from reaching the mast cells (by targeting adipose body tissue) and if no estrogen is being produced anymore, what would be the benefit of taking it? Arimidex is said to have fewer and less severe side effects than Tamox. but, as you know, both have potentially serious side effects. It seems that many women who could not tolerate Tamox., have been able to take Arimidex without problems and that's a very good thing.

Just my thinking about it based upon what I've read and/or been told by the pros. I think your question is something only your gynecologist and/or oncologist can properly advise you about.

Good luck.

Love, light and laughter,
Ink

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