Monday, February 13, 2006

Valentine's Day Massacre (of errant cancer cells)

I'm stealing this line from my new friend Maris - tomorrow is my last day of chemo!

Yes, this is great news but I'm also really nervous about the brave new world of limbo ahead. Just goes to show ya, if it's not one thing, it's another (paraphrasing Gilda Radner)
There's the "Soft" trial - which I finally found on msk's site - click here for the description.

Here's the summary
"If a breast cancer contains receptors for estrogen and/or progesterone, treatment with hormones has been shown to help prevent it from returning after it has been removed by surgery. The hormone therapy generally used is tamoxifen, which is usually given for five years. Studies have also shown that suppressing (shutting down) the ovaries (stopping them from making hormones such as estrogen) helps prevent breast cancers from returning in women who are premenopausal.

In this study, investigators want to determine if shutting down the ovaries while giving tamoxifen is more effective for preventing the return of breast cancer than tamoxifen alone in premenopausal women with early-stage breast cancer. They will also determine if a newer hormone drug called exemestane plus suppression of the ovaries is better than tamoxifen with ovarian suppression. In addition, they will study the side effects of these different treatments.

Exemestane is a drug which is FDA-approved for treating metastatic breast cancer in postmenopausal women. In addition, exemestane has been shown to reduce the risk of a breast cancer recurrence in postmenopausal women after 2 to 3 years of tamoxifen. Its use in premenopausal women with cancer that has not yet spread is investigational."

Here is an article about the two different drugs used in the study. The third is Lupron which I haven't looked up yet. I've had people tell me it made them "crazy" (it's also used in fertility treatment). yippee!

I could go on and on linking to studies but maybe I'll stop and read 'em - and hopefully will be able to summarize it all after tomorrow.

The things that strike me are words like: bone loss, arthritis, diarrhea, etc that accompany some drugs

One thing is clear, I will be on one drug for the next 5 years - Tamoxifen has been the standard but then switching to Femarra or another aromatase inhibitor after 2.5 yrs seems to be the new regimen. I am already having hot flashes from the Taxol turning off all hormones and putting me in temporary menopause.
The goal of oncos is to put me in REAL menopause - to turn off all hormones (which is a friend to my cancer cells)

eesh, got some reading to do - not to mention shopping for my msk team for tomorrow!


Blogger michelle said...

Are you both ER and PR positive? How many years would you think it'd be before you'd naturally have started menopause? I'm personally not so keen on totally "shutting down" the ovaries. At least not yet. But, given this trial is in Phase III, there must be some positive results.

7:32 PM  
Blogger sv said...

yeah, throwing out the ovaries -- pretty radical
i am ER, PR+
menopause in my family seems to be around 50 so it's 9 yrs away?

here's one bit of the ACS article i linked to :
Women at low risk of recurrence, on the other hand, might be better off with the standard 5 years of tamoxifen since more is known about its long-term effects.

tucker's coming w/me tomorrow so hopefully we'll ask enough i think i have 6 mths to get on the study...

8:26 PM  
Blogger michelle said...

I just talked to my trial nurse about this study. She's going to send some info to me. I would consider it if the data/results are looking beneficial.

3:15 PM  

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