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hormone replacement therapy

Posts: 36
Joined: Mar 2006

I went to the Dr. the other day (not my onc. or surgeon, just a dr.) and he did blood work that says I am in menopause caused by the chemo or radiation. I am 30. He put me on Prempro, a hormone replacement therapy. I picked it up today and read the leaflet. I am scared to take it!! Any advice?
It sure would be nice to not have a thousand hot flashes a day, and to be able to have sex again, but I don't want more cancer.
Anyone on this? At my age??

Posts: 36
Joined: Mar 2006

BTW, I won't be back to check on this until tomorrow, so do not think I am being rude or ignoring you if you answer and I don't respond right away. I have to go to bed now, I get up at 1:00.
Oh, and my 1 year anniversary from my diagnosis is Monday, and I will be having a colonoscopy under general anesthesia, and I don't know if I am cancer free (but I hope I am ) because I have had no tests yet. I just finished treatments in Nov. That may be needed info to help answer my question.


Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

Hi. I know there are many people (women) on this board who are opposed to the idea of taking hormone replacement therapy, and I respect that viewpoint. However, I am someone who IS taking HRT. I was thrown into early menopause at age 44 by the radiation for rectal cancer (not as young as you, but still early). I am aware of the controversies surrounding HRT. I spoke to several doctors and did lots of reading myself. My OB-GYN dr has a lot of experience with cancer pts. I don't have any history or risk factors for breast cancer. We decided that I cd take HRT for a few years. I have regular bone density tests and annual mammogram. I am very happy to be on HRT (for the reasons you mention) but of course it is a personal decision. Most of all, it is important that you are 100% comfortable with whatever decision you make.

alta29's picture
Posts: 435
Joined: Mar 2005

I decided not to take ANY hormones..I heard that there are some "natural" pills...and I am even afraid of taking those...
God bless

Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 2005

This is my first post. I had colon resection 3/03 followed by chemo-5FU/leucovorin and radiaton as adjuvant therapy. I was T1,N0,M0. Now, for the past several months, the CT/Pet scans are showing a lung nodule that is "progressing". Three doctors have told me the time has come for surgery, which is scheduled for Mar.6, a thoracotomy. No one calling this cancer, they say surgery is the only was to know for sure. It did light up on the PET. CEA was up slightly for the past few blood tests, then down on the last one. I am hoping and praying for the best, and dreading the surgery. Any words of wisdom out there? Thanks so much.

scouty's picture
Posts: 1976
Joined: Apr 2004

I would talk to your oncologist about it. I was much older then you and never had radiation, just many months of chemo and when I mentioned to my onc about my "forced menopause" he said women younger then I was could slowly get their cycles back. I was 49 at the time and the hot flashes did decrease significantly over the course of a year after my treatments stopped until I had my ovaries taken out (non cancer related).

I completely understand why you are afraid to take them and refuse them myself but think you are very smart to ask for other opinions here with some of the smartest folks I know.

Estoven is a natural product with no side effects that has helped me as does DHEA, another natural product I get from a local herbalogist.

Lisa P.

Posts: 719
Joined: Feb 2005

Hi There, I know this is a dicey subject.
Question for you? Did the radiation hit your ovaries? Just wondering. I would get a few opinions and do some research. It is different from me because I am in my forties and only had chemo - but it did mess with me. Importantly, though, it did not throw me into early menopause - just screwed up cycles and hormoes for about a year or more. My Gyn did a lot of testing to make sure that I was not into menopause - inspite of all of the weirdness. The strangest thing is that she did put me on a natural progesterone, but I was not thrilled taking it; it may have helped kick things back into place or my body may have worked out the kinks, but two years later (at age 48) my body is again feeling normal - and I seemed to have improved after stopping the natural progesterone and sticking with a good nutrition/exercsie program.
My Gyn is oposed to any synthetic hormones for me - but part of that is age driven as well as the fact that I have had cancer...
I might have not given you any answers, but might have posed a few more questions and that isn't always a bad thing.
Bottomline, I would talk to at least one Gyn and see what they think. Get an expet opinon - or three! I would also work on making your body super strong with great nutrition and exercise; it could actually kickstart things - if they aren;t truly in a state of menopuase. As you can see, there aren't easy answers, but you do have options...you are young and it worth all of the work on your part.
All the best to you and keep us posted - Maura

Posts: 719
Joined: Feb 2005

Sorry, I am tired and my post was FULL of typos...

katienavs's picture
Posts: 88
Joined: Nov 2006

I had to make this same decision several months ago. I am 25 yrs old and am in early menopause due to the radiation; my ovaries were in the radiation field and ceased functioning altogether. I, too, was scared about HRT and the associated risks.
After doing some research online and meeting with my obgyn we decided to put me on Levora, a birth control pill, which actually has higher doses of hormones than Prempro. However, as the obgyn explained it to me, the higher dose is preferable because it is more akin to the amount of hormones young people like you and I have running through their bodies. Prempro is a lower dose. I asked about the long term effects, seeing as I could be on hormones for a very long time if the cancer stays away, and he said there are no studies on patients like you and I who experience radiation induced early menopause so young and go on hormones for 20+ years.
So basically there is no correct medical answer given the absence of studies but having hormones put back into your body will help with the symptoms of menopause, preventing osteoporosis, and other sexual side effects like vaginal atrophy, dryness, etc.
I think when I realized that the amount of hormones I would be receiving was less than that in other womens' bodies I found no reason to be scared.
Hope this helps!

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