• Shingles

    Asked by Loafer on Friday, September 7, 2012

    Shingles

    Did treatment bring on shingles for anyone? Would you recommend the shingles vaccine before starting treatment?

    7 Answers from the Community

    7 answers
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      I definitely wouldn't get it without your oncologist's approval as the vaccine can do more harm than good in certain circumstances and it is not recommended by the CDC for those under 60 years old, that already have an compromised immune system (including those with cancer) or taking certain medications including steroids, which are often used in cancer treatment to minimize side effects.

      I am 65, had chicken pox as a child, have not been vaccinated, had chemo, surgery, radiation, targeted and hormone treatment to treat cancer and I have not had shingles.

      over 4 years ago
    • Loafer's Avatar
      Loafer

      Thanks for the response. I haven't started any treatment yet - just wondering if this was a good idea - before I compromise my immune system. I have surgery scheduled for next Monday when the journey begins....

      over 4 years ago
    • Ivy's Avatar
      Ivy

      I agree with the answers already given, with this exception. You should have the vaccination later--definitely do have it. My mother, who is quite elderly and a real trooper for her age, had shingles a few years ago, and the pain was so major that she would have welcomed death for awhile. Insurance will reimburse after age 60 generally. The vaccination is quite expensive. I had it two years ago, and it cost about $200. While technically my insurance would reimburse, they required that injection be done by someone in my network. It's a very large network, but not a single doctor actually had the vaccine. It's very expensive for doctors to stock the vaccine: it has to be stored in a special sub-temperature freezer, it has to be used immediately if it thaws out, and so on. So after calling about 15 doctors and finding no one actually giving the vaccine, I gave up and went to a grocery store clinic, got the vaccine, paid for it myself, and gave up on getting satisfaction from my very well-known insurance carrier.

      Regarding vaccines and chemotherapy, my oncologist had me quit getting allergy injections before and during active chemotherapy treatment. I've been told by this doctor that I can restart allergy injections about 5 weeks after active treatment ended, and the same holds true for the annual flu vaccine. This might not apply to everyone, as I came through chemotherapy with blood levels higher than typically found. So it would be wise to let your doctor set the date for getting various vaccines, but know that it's not likely to be ruled out for too long a period.

      over 4 years ago
    • islandlady's Avatar
      islandlady

      I got the shingles during my chemo treatment. Too late for me to get vaccine.

      over 4 years ago
    • LadyM's Avatar
      LadyM

      I have had recurrent shingles since age 28 but they stopped with Chemo. I have had very mild outbreaks since my treatment came to an end. I dont know if you can get a vaccine while in treatment - that is definitely an Oncologist question.

      over 4 years ago
    • Karenhi's Avatar
      Karenhi

      Right before I was scheduled to start treatment I talked to a woman who got a terrible case of shingles during treatment, on her face near her ear, which gave her vertigo in addition to the tremendous pain. The thought is that shingles is opportunistic, and can re-emerge because your immunity is compromised by chemo and rads. A web search seems to indicate that it is not a rare occurence.
      I asked and got permission from my onc to postpone chemo for a month to get the vaccine and give it time to kick in. Of course I will never know if I would have actually gotten shingles without the vaccine, because not everyone gets it; but it gave me a tiny bit of control during a time I felt precious little control over anything.
      Insurance will pay for the vaccine (which cost over $200) only if you are over 60. I am within spitting distance of that benchmark, but out of luck by a few months. I will appeal, but I am not holding my breath.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Karenhi's Avatar
      Karenhi

      Right before I was scheduled to start treatment I talked to a woman who got a terrible case of shingles during treatment, on her face near her ear, which gave her vertigo in addition to the tremendous pain. The thought is that shingles is opportunistic, and can re-emerge because your immunity is compromised by chemo and rads. A web search seems to indicate that it is not a rare occurence.
      I asked and got permission from my onc to postpone chemo for a month to get the vaccine and give it time to kick in. Of course I will never know if I would have actually gotten shingles without the vaccine, because not everyone gets it; but it gave me a tiny bit of control during a time I felt precious little control over anything.
      Insurance will pay for the vaccine (which cost over $200) only if you are over 60. I am within spitting distance of that benchmark, but out of luck by a few months. I will appeal, but I am not holding my breath.

      almost 4 years ago

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