Question on Tamoxifen vs Zoladex and Exemestane. Does this s**t ever end?

kezmusckezmusc Member Posts: 30
Hi everyone,

This is my first posting here.  I have read and gained so much from the many postings, wisdom and inspiration from everyone on this forum and for that I have to say thankyou.  The information contained within this network, I believe,  far outways what most doctors can tell you.  I guess that's because they really don't involve a lot of the emotional side of the treatments and how that effects every aspect of your life for so long.

So I am eight months into the battle after being diagnosed with stage 2 invasive carcinoma (of no particular sort aparently) + DCIS with 5 of 24 lymph nodes positive ER/PR +      HER2neg.
I've had lumpectomy, re excision to gain clearer margins, 4x AC and 12 paclitaxol (manged to keep my hair thanks to cold capping YAY!) and am on number 14 of 30 sessions of radiation.  

So my question is:

Saw my oncologist the other week who, up until then, had only ever mentioned doing 10 years (OMG) of Tamoxifen after everything else is finished.  Then on my last visit decides that Zoladex monthly injection and exemestane tablets for 5 years is the way to go although he couldn't really tell me the success rate of one verse the other.  

You should get a laugh out of this.......(my Dr is Indian and sometimes things get a little lost in translation)  So with a big smile on his face claims the Zoladex will "castrate" me and would be the best I hadn't nearly fallen off my chair laughing I would have burst in to tears (which I did as soon as I left his office). 

Has anyone had any experience with this combination?  Seriously, I am already getting 20 -30 hot flushes a day, wake up 5-10 times a night due to overheating along with all the other usual things your body does when suprisingly has all its female hormones shut down unexpectedly.
There seems no end to treatment.  I would be keen to also hear if anyone knows any natural ways to lower estrogen as an alternative to years of hormone blockers?

Thanks for listnening.


  • LMK74LMK74 BrisbaneMember Posts: 505
    Hi kezmusc, just want to say welcome. I can't help with your questions but I'm sure some of the ladies will. 
    I'm heading for my last chemo in two weeks then surgery and radiation. Tamoxifen will be added in too after chemo sometime. I'm on zoladex injections monthly and will be for two years they say. It does feel there is no end to this shit. I was pre menopausal before chemo, I'm 43, so to be pushed straight into the unrelenting hot flushes sucks big time. Chemo on top as I'm sure you already know is even worse. Maybe it's never over, I don't know but it sure does suck big time.
  • iserbrowniserbrown Member Posts: 1,643
    The long answer and the short answer of your post is no it never ends!

    Sorry you've had to join us but as you settle in you will come to see there are others with similar treatments et cetera

    I am due for my last Zoladex injection, yay, next week - 2 years it has been running concurrently with Tamoxifen.  Tamoxifen is for another 8 years unless upon review he changes it to a different one.  who knows!  Everything has side effects and some of us get more than one if not what feels like the whole deck of cards of side effects but eventually the body adjusts and or the tolerance improves, not sure which!

    I'm like most not very happy with the side effects but what I am happy with is the vigilant service that I receive from both my Oncs and my breast surgeon, I am extremely happy with them.  They have my health first and foremost.

    I'm sure as you settle into treatment your body will also adjust.  Some days I feel like a little old lady as I struggle to get going, at least I can blame the medication.  The bones that ache the foot that annoys the so and so out of me but otherwise I'm good because in the grand scheme of it all my team are making sure I get well and truly a good go at beating it forever!

    Take care and hopefully you'll get a lot out of the forum here as everyone is willing you along to a better outcome

  • TennilleTennille Member Posts: 87
    I did Tamoxifen for 4 years then Zolodex and Exemestane. Definitely preferred the Zol and Ex combination. No side effects at all with them as opposed to serious night sweats, hormone rages and crazy 'girlie' itching on Tamoxifen. Im now on Zoladex and Letrozole another whole new ball game. My Onco said the combo is definitely better than tamoxifen and better chance of no recurrence if hormones are 'switched off'
  • ZoffielZoffiel Member Posts: 876
    @kezmusc the zoldex is to push you into menopause because that's where you need to be for the aromatase inhibitors to work. If you aren't too personally fond of your ovaries you can get rid of them (mm, castration, sort of, I suppose) which is what I did so I didn't have to faff  about with more bloody injections. Im 53 and pretty much out of disposable bits...
    Don't freak about the ten year program. The time passes anyway, regardless of whether you are taking pills or not. Marg xxx
  • Brenda5Brenda5 Burrum Heads, QldMember Posts: 1,592
    My dad is on Zoladex but he has it as a 3 monthly injection into the fat of his stomach.
  • NannatashNannatash Gold coastMember Posts: 56
    Hi I started tamoxifen 8 wks ago hot sweats oh yer 20. +  menapause chemo is to blame for that get nausea at times n latest is constipation loads water I like haveing natural remedies to help things as had enough medication not looking forward to summer with sweats n periods gone thanks to chemo all the best 
  • Cowgirl1Cowgirl1 Adelaide CocokatoovalleyMember Posts: 49
    I'm on tamoxifen and was all ready going through menopause so I had night sweats all ready,I don't think I have had any sideffects except the night sweats are a little different bit stronger. Have to laugh on the news about not sleeping soundly as in flopping around like a fish out of water hot cold covers on then off, might cause dementure and they say it can cause weight gain and heart problems, wow so many things to look forward to it's a mans world for sure lol
  • EarthWalkerLishaEarthWalkerLisha Epping, NSWMember Posts: 68
    Hi @kezmusc I'm on monthly Zoladex injections which stop my oestrogen production.  I'm up to 5 injections so far. My oncologist suggested I be on Zoladex rather than Tamoxifen due to the possibility of my anti-depressants interfering with Tamoxifen as well as an increased possibility of Ovarian cancer.  Chemotherapy didn't totally bring on menopause so we went with Zoladex. He said Zoladex takes about 4 months to settle in and now my periods have definitely stopped.  The side effects haven't been so bad up until this last month, weight gain, joint aches, headaches, night sweats etc.  I am also experiencing lots of side effects from chemo and radiation, so a combination of all of the above is happening at the moment. Fun, fun, fun!!  So far my oncologist says I will just need Zoladex for 2 years and hope menopause has kicked in by then, but he didn't feel the need for any aromatase inhibitors. 

    I had invasive ductal carcinoma and was Oestrogen and Progesterone positive.  Wide local excision and 3 lymph nodes removed and all clear. 4x AC and Rads x 20, finished just before Christmas last year.  I started my Zoladex injections in Feb this year. I had blood tests that told me my oestrogen levels were low so menopause was definitely on it's way.  I'm 47 and I so welcome having no periods.
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