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UPSC and hormone replacement?

Molly110
Posts: 130
Joined: Oct 2019

I know there are many UPSC survivors on the board, so perhaps one of you can help. Although I'm in my 60s, I learned I was not technically hormonally in menopause when I saw the gyn last July who referred me to the gyn/oncologist who became my doctor. The referring gyn is very into hormone replacement and gave me a lot of literature about good vs bad hormone replacement (this was before he knew I had cancer -- based on several factors, including a low CA 125, he thought it was likely that I did not).

Turns out I did, and I'm so grateful that he referred me to  a brilliant gyn/onc just in case. After my August hysterectomy, I had no side effects  that seemed related to a sudden loss of estrogen (of which I had way too much). Now, however, I'm wondering if I should consider hormone replacement as a possible assist to having my hair grow back completely. 

I was so freaked at diagnosis that I didn't take in everything my wonderful gyn/onc said to me, but I do remember something to the effect that although UPSC is not hormone sensitive, he thought it was still best for me to stay away from hormone replacement as this cancer was rare and so much was still unknown. I don't remember much about the conversation because he was speaking in general terms, not answering a specific question of mine. 

I have a regular check up with him in a couple of weeks and will ask him what he advises now, but before then I wanted to check in here to see if anyone who had/has UPSC has taken hormone replacement after surgery and chemo?

Thanks much.

MAbound
Posts: 1063
Joined: Jun 2016

Even after menopause, whether it is due to age or hysterectomy, your body still produces estrogen in other places of the body, especially fat cells. HRT makes sense up  until your 40's to protect bones and against heart disease, but after this, the risks it poses can outweight the benefits. Hormones are the most powerful regulators of body function and it is always safer to let nature take it's course, especially as we age. Taking estrogen now may or may not help your hair growth, but it will also put you at higher risk for breast cancer. That sounds like the risk outweighs the benefit in my book. I personally wouldn't go there.

Molly110
Posts: 130
Joined: Oct 2019

Thank you, MABound, for responding. It really helps me to hear what other women think.

I don't have the same faith in letting nature take its course that I used to have, since nature landed me with UPSC. I really struggled with the decision to do chemo and had to work hard to think of chemo as anything other than dripping poison into my veins. (Before chemo, I was reluctant to take any prescription drugs.) Once I decided on chemo, I had to let go of what my younger friends called my "Lola Granola" approach, and my focus now is on getting as much of my normal life back as I can in whatever time I have left to me (and like anyone who had/has UPSC, there is no way to predict that -- it might be a normal lifespan or might not). I wouldn't have considered HRT before this, whether traditional or the "better" version, but if it can help me feel more like myself, I am interested, unless my gyn/onc says it might increase the risk of recurrence. I think that's what he's going to say, so I was hoping to be able to tell him that some of the UPSC survivors on the board are taking it in case that would influence his thoughts. (He was surprised that there are so many UPSC folks on the board.)

Thanks again,

Molly

TeddyandBears_Mom's picture
TeddyandBears_Mom
Posts: 1673
Joined: Jun 2015

I agree with MAbound. It just isn't worth the risk. I have been dealing with hot flashes for 15 years and I still don't take anything. 

My hair was thin before chemo and is even thinner now. I use more hair products to boost the volume a bit and just live with it. I hope you can find a way to style yours without resorting to HRT.

Love and Hugs,

Cindi

Molly110
Posts: 130
Joined: Oct 2019

Thank you so much, Cindi, for taking the time to respond. My referring gyn distinguishes between traditional HRT and other HRT options and gave me several studies that support those options. I haven't been to him since the diagnosis, so he might not consider me a candidate now, even though UPSC is not hormone senstitive. I am pretty sure that my gyn/onc will recommend against it, in which case I doubt I will do it. I was curious to see if anyone on the board has tried it for hair regrowth.

My hair was thick, and I've worn it long for decades. If there is anything I can do to have it grow back the way it was, I want to do it. Right now, every time I see myself in a mirror I'm reminded that I had a rare, malignant cancer with a propensity to recur. Part of my calculation about hormones is that there is a very good chance that I won't live long enough to develop side effects from HRT, and if I only have a few years ahead of me, I'd like to live them feeling like myself.

Molly

MAbound
Posts: 1063
Joined: Jun 2016

I know that your gyn has you sold on HRT to help with your hair, but have you looked into other safer options such as going to a NP for advice on supplements that might help? One that comes to mind is eggshell membrane that I researched when somebody else mentioned it on this board. You may find these links interesting:

http://free-journal.umm.ac.id/files/file/A%20Review%20of%20the%20Uses%20of%20Poultry%20Eggshells%20and%20Shell%20Membranes.pdf  (info about hair towards the end of the article.)

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31904175/  (There are many more links easily found by googling)

I know there are more options than this, so that is why I am throwing out a visit with an naturopath as something you may want to consider before taking something as powerful and risky as hormones.

Molly110
Posts: 130
Joined: Oct 2019

Thanks for the information. I should clarify that the gyn I mentioned is big on hormone regulation but has not suggested it for hair regrowth. I only saw him once, as he's the person who refered me to the gyn/onc for the D&C. When he suggested hormone regulation to me, he was not aware that I had cancer. I have no idea how he would feel about HRT for me in my particular circumstances.

Thanks again,

Molly 

Armywife's picture
Armywife
Posts: 414
Joined: Feb 2018

Hi Molly - has your hair started to come back in yet?  Just wanted to offer that you might want to see what you've got before making a decision.  My hair came back thicker after chemo - the initial regrowth was silky soft like a baby's, and had a sweet wavy curl to it. It did come in gray, so when I went to color it back to my brown, the texture changed back to the way it was before I had chemo.  I can't tell any difference between now and before cancer.  *full disclosure, my thyroid issues had been causing my hair to thin for a few years before cancer, and though my hair came back in thicker than before, now, almost three years later, it's starting to thin out again on top - again, due to thyroid. There is hope that you won't have to worry about assisting your hair!

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