• surgery or shots?

    Asked by bbay65 on Friday, April 12, 2013

    surgery or shots?

    I'm looking for opinions. My bc has met. to spine. Along w/ Tamoxifin and Zometa the dr has started me on a monthly shot of Lupron. This will shut down ovaries thus reducing the estrogen produced. This means a trip to Boston monthly only for the shot. The trip usually takes 1hr15min if traffic is good. Instead of the shot I could get ovaries removed. This is a quick and easy procedure (so I'm told) and can have it done nearby. At first I didn't like the idea. Now, I'm thinking it makes sense to get rid of something I don't need and could cause trouble. Any ideas out there? Thanks in advance for any thoughts you can offer on this. This site has been a Godsend.

    8 Answers from the Community

    8 answers
    • AlizaMLS's Avatar

      Dear bbay65,

      Hi. I'm Aliza, a BC patient and the site's unofficial Medical Librarian. Med Librarians offer advice (usually non-medical [kind of against our code of ethics to offer med advice [it's also a bit illegal as it's practicing medicine sans license]) But we do offer referrals to doctors, hospitals/institutions, agencies, etc. and research when required/requested. Since I went on in my professional capacity I follow these rules for the most part-I felt I could ultimately be more helpful this way. But I am permitted to speak from my own experience and from those of family and close friends.

      I read your post and understand your dilemma. Librarians look at questions a bit differently than others as well because of our training. I believe that ovaries can be removed vaginally these days causing less down time as opposed to abdominally, which is a lot of down time.

      I'm uncertain as to where in Mass you're coming from to head to Boston but can appreciate that it's a long commute as it takes me about an hour to get from where I live to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center where I'm treated in NYC. But to keep things in perspective, it's only once a month,. The next question I'm going t pose to you is rhetorical - how long do you have to make these trips down to Boston for the Lupron shots to take effect to shut down your ovaries completely? Is it only 3-4 times or will it be a yea or more? Could you combine coming down for the Lupron shot with another fun activity you enjoy in Boston? Lunch or dinner at a favorite restaurant? Can you bring a friend and go shopping at Filenes? o you enjoy browsing around Cambridge? You get where I'm going with this?...Reward yourself (don't max out your credit cards) with something nice for doing this.

      When I go to Sloan, my fiancé accompanies me and we usually go out to eat afterwards. I often havea coupon from livingsocialdotcom or bloomspotdotcom. I believe they're available for Boston, so that's something you might be interested in. They have discounts on restaurants, spas, mani-pedis, hairstylists, weekend trips and more. Sorry I had to write the URLs like this-they'll remove them if I don't.

      You can also put some favorite music on in the car when you travel down whether you have Sirius radio, an MP3 player, a CD player or the radio on a favorite station.

      Re your other option - surgery, I can understand why you'd consider that. I really can Long before the days of cancer, at the age of 40, I had my tubes tied. It was one of the best decisions I'd made. They did it with laparascopic surgery. I felt no pain afterwards. It was a very easy recovery for me.

      I cannot advise you as to what to do. I can only lay out the different options perhaps in ways that you hadn't considered before. I don't think there are any "wrong" choices here. Only what will make you feel most comfortable. This is the time to get the piece of paper and list on one side Pros and on the other Cons and start your list..

      I wish you the best of luck in whatever decision you make and I hope I've helped lay things out for you in a way that might make things a little more clear to you.

      Warmest Wishes,

      over 3 years ago
    • chutzpah's Avatar

      When I was diagnosed at first as stage IV estrogen positive I was not given an option to keep my ovaries, but I am 61 and not planning on having anymore kids.Hopefully removal of the ovaries will lessen the chance of ovarian cancer. The operation was simple laproscopy with very little down time and discomfort in fact the pain meds were not the heavy duty knock me out stuff. One of the down sides of having less estrogen is skin elasticity. I am now moisturizing a heck of a lot to try to keep the wrinkles at bay. Good Luck with whatever you decide

      over 3 years ago
    • Gabba's Avatar

      I know about that traffic into Boston! I would not let that traffic sway you in your decision...perhaps appointments can be made to dodge the early morning and late afternoon quagmires that tend to develop...you have two options and that's a good thing, some folks have no options...see what others here have to say and good luck with whatever you decide to do...God bless!

      over 3 years ago
    • suebo's Avatar

      My question is if they are giving shots to shut down the ovaries -- then why not have them removed. Won't it be the same thing? Ovaries in your body that are shut down vs ovaries that are removed? Or will it just shut down the ovaries during the period you receive the shots? Also if that is so after the period of shots is done wouldn't it be worrisome to have the ovaries up and running again and the increased estrogen production running thru the body again?

      over 3 years ago
    • JennyMiller's Avatar

      Since I had a Total Abdominal Hysterectomy years ago, I was not faced with this decision when I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. However, since I have been aggressive in my treatment plan, I am sure I would have opted to have the ovaries removed. I think this choice would give me the peace of mind that I did all I could possibly do. However, everyone is different and you have to make the choice yourself -- after all, you are the one that has to live with that choice.
      If you decide on the shot, is it something that can be prescribed for a local person to give to you.
      When I had to have the Neulesta Shot, instead of driving over an hour, I was able to do it at home. My children are Nurses so my Oncologist gave me the Prescription for the shot which I picked up at our local drug store (I had to give them a day's notice so that they could order it). My son gave it to me the first time and I ended up giving it to myself the other 3 times. I wish you the best.

      over 3 years ago
    • luvnlife's Avatar

      Hi, hope your having a good day. After I finished 6 chemos for bc, my oncologist wanted to give me Lupron shots to shut down my ovaries. I got one shot and was apparently allergic to it, within 24 hours I had retained 6 pounds of fluid. I couldnt walk two steps without being winded. And right at that time my husband was taking me on vacation and I was walking around like this, probably a dumb thing to do. The dr. gave me water pills and referred me to a cardiologist who did every test known to man to see if my heart had been damaged I guess. So after that they told me I should just have a hysterectomy cause I didnt need those parts anyway. They said having bc makes you more likely to get ovarian cancer and Tamoxifen can give you uterine cancer. So I did have the hysterectomy. They dont bother to tell you the side effects of that either though. Your body really misses that estrogen. Every other week I had a yeast infection, but finally have been able to control that by taking a probiotic, which my girlfriend, a doctor of pharmacology told me to do mind you, not any of my doctors not even the gyno, they just keep telling you to use yeast infection cream, yuck. A while after that I heard a news story about young women gettting Lupron for endrometreosis and all the problems it caused them like really bad pain. Plus if you read the literature about Lupron it will curl your socks, about what it's usually used for, something about castration if I remember right. I wish you the best.

      over 3 years ago
    • jad's Avatar

      I didn't know this until I was discussing genetic testing with my oncologist, and also my daughter.

      If you test positive for the BRCA genes, oophorectomy (surgical removal of the ovaries) is now standard practice. I think this holds for whether you are of child-bearing age or beyond.
      This is because there is such a strong link between breast and ovarian cancer.

      (Help me here, Aliza) I think there are 2 types of breast cancer genes they currently test for: BRCA1 and BRCA2. I would assume that as the genetics knowledge bank improves, they will test for more in years to come.

      over 3 years ago
    • bbay65's Avatar

      Thanks for all the different points of view. I never thought of getting it from a local dr. But, it would be nice to have one less drug enter my body. You've given me a lot to think about. I will be better prepared when I talk to my gyn about this. You all are great.

      over 3 years ago

    Help the community by answering this question:

    Create an account to post your answer Already have an account? Sign in!

    By using WhatNext, you agree to our User Agreement, and Privacy Policy

    Read and answer more breast cancer questions.  Also, don't forget to check out our Breast Cancer page.