Supporting women whose lives have been touched by breast cancer


by k1

When I was dx I was told I was going to have a WLE followed by the combined treatment of chemo/Tamoxifen/radiotherapy but when I explained that I am a full-time carer for my very severely physically disabled son it was decided that Zoladex injections would be a good alternative. In my case it would mean only a 1% difference in outcome. Zoladex is an effective hormonal treatment that stops the ovaries from producing oestrogen and is normally given for 2 years but in some circumstances can be given for up to 5 years. I believe it is only used for women who have not yet gone through menopause.

It is implanted into your tummy once a month, usually alternating sides i.e. one month the right side, the next month the left side. I started Zoladex injections and Tamoxifen on the same day and then started a 4 week course of radiotherapy 2 months later. The Sister at the hospital gave me my first injection and I didn’t feel hardly anything, just a little pinch and a small bruise. From then on my GP gave me the injection every 4 weeks, normally on a Saturday morning. He was very good too, just a little pinch and hardly any bruising. He did say that a fat tummy helps, I certainly fitted into that category!!!

Side effects included hot flushes but they weren’t too bad, a few “menopause” symptoms i.e. dizziness, a little nausea, a few mood swings but honestly, nothing that I couldn’t cope with. After all, the intention of the Zoladex was to put me through the menopause by stopping oestrogen production.

I will warn you though, I did have the injection once from my GP’s locum and I nearly went through the ceiling, it was one of the most painful injections I have ever had, so I do advocate that you get someone with a lot of experience of giving these injections to administer yours. I do believe that an anaesthetic cream can be used to help if you do have problems with pain and bruising.

On a very serious note, and something that I feel most strongly about, do not whatever you do get persuaded to change over to the 3 monthly Zoladex injection. This is not licensed for breast cancer, only for prostate cancer, and I do know a couple of women whose breast cancer returned who were on the 3 monthly dose, this is because if you are strongly hormone positive the 3 monthly injection doesn’t always last the whole 3 months. I know some of you may hate having the injection but it is better to suffer a little pain once a month than risking bc returning.

Also, try not to see the actual injection. I was lucky that I never saw it until the very last one, it looks HUGE and can be frightening for anyone who has a fear of needles.

I felt very well most of the time whilst on this particular course of treatment, it was only after 3-4 months of stopping Zoladex and continuing with the Tamoxifen that my problems started but that is a different story.