Lupus AND Breast Cancer

I want to thank everyone who responded to my "Radiation Risks!" message a few weeks ago. I have a new twist in my condition now. I have Lupus and my onc (actually I have gotten 5 opinions) said that I cannot withstand any cancer treatment. I am taking FEMARA and doing ok with it. Lupus is an autoimmune disorder that effects the immune system. They are concerned that the treatment could kill me since both radiation and chemo reak havoc on the immune system. I am wondering if anyone out there has or knows someone who has breast cancer and Lupus. If so, what treatments did they get and how did it effect the Lupus? I asked the onc what would happen if I have a reoccurance and he said that all they can do is remove it surgically. I didn't like that answer at all!

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WOW! I hate to hear this. I don't know anyone with both Lupus and BC, but I wanted you to know that you are in my thoughts and I hope they find some answers for you that will allow you to fight this beast.

Hugs.

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I don't have Lupus, but I have a friend who does and she said that they sometimes use chemo for a treatment for lupus. Then I read about how radiation therapy is also used for lupus. You can read it at this site: http://www.hss.edu/conditions_lupus-radiation-cosmetic-enhancement.asp They say the following about chemo:
"Since cancer treatment often involves chemotherapy, treatment of autoimmune illness with immunosuppressive drugs must be altered; generally the cancer chemotherapy also treats the lupus, so it is possible to withdraw most lupus treatment when a patient undergoes chemotherapy. "

I know you got 5 opinions, so I have to ask did they say you couldn't because of how bad the lupus is? If not I would do a bit more research and go back to your doctor of choice and present the material... better yet find a doctor with experience in treating breast cancer with patients who have lupus.

Praying you find the right doctor for your complex situation. I also pray you don't have a reoccurance, but in the mean time I would find theright oncologist so you aren't scrambling at the most critical time.

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Hello, My mom has stage iv mets to liver and lichen planus (also an auto immune). She ALWAYS has sores in her mouth as the auto immune disease attacks the soft tisses in her mouth. She goes to Sloan and they never suggested that she couldn't have chemo. Although the chemo gives her even more mouth sores and infection is always a problem, she is monitored closely. I would get a second opinion on this when or if your hormonals stop working. Blessings. Mary

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I have had lupus for 9 years and was diagnosed with ABC (numerous mets in my liver) in Feb 2010. It has never been suggested that I should forego any type of treatment because of my lupus. I have had 6 doses of chemo and found that during chemo treatment my lupus symptoms temporarily disappeared. Cyclophosphamide (which is one of the chemo drugs I had) in tablet form is also a treatment for lupus. I have been on Tamoxifen and Zoladex since June 2010. The only issues I have encountered when it comes to lupus and my ABC treatments is that I can't take my usual lupus medication (chloroquine) whilst on Tamoxifen (so therefore my lupus is not being treated at the moment) and coupled with the side effects of joint and muscle pain from Tamoxifen, my joint and muscle pain is considerably worse.

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I have had lupus for many years and bc since 2006....the only treatment that I was told to try to avoid was radiation. I have had lots of different varieties of chemo and with each round, my lupus s/s have gotten better. The chemo helps erradicate the lupus antigens that are floating around in your blood. For the first time in over 15 years I am off steroids, mobic and plaquenil. YEA Still have some symptoms (s/s) but well worth being off those meds...One plus for the BC....I would get a second opionion. Christi

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I have (or had) lupus and Stage IV Breast Cancer (Her 2+) with mets to liver and bones. Did radiation, chemo (carboplatin and taxotere) for 6 months and have been on Herceptin and Pamidonate only since (almost 2 years). The lupus is in total remission. I only have a positive ANA, but no symptoms at all. Chemo is one of the treatments for lupus. I tell people that cancer cures lupus. It may not be the best way but it worked for me. BTW I checked everything re: chemo and radiation with the rheumologist first and she said there was absolutely no worries with the treatment.

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I have Lupus and breast cancer. I had a double masectomy and was told I wasn't a candidate for radiation. I have multiple skin and connective tissue issues so I can understand that. I opted out of chemo but do have a friend with organic Lupus who went through chemo several years ago for a serious Lupus flare and went into a brief remission. She still has Lupus; it never goes away, it's just manifesting differently. I'm 55 and was diagnosed with Lupus at 20 so it, like breast cancer, is not a death sentence.

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Thanks so much.

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They say that my Lupus is real bad (lots of pain and my immune system is in trouble) so they don't recommend radiation or chemo at this time. I am going to yet another oncologist in Orlando next week for another opinion. I just pray that the cancer doesn't come back and that these doctors know what they are doing. I am surprised that no one has mentioned that Lupus has been treated with radiation. I read that too and will mention that to my oncologists. Thanks.

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Yes. I agree with you and I am going to get another opinion next week. Thanks

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You mentioned that you cannot take Choroquine while you are on Tamoxifren. I am taking Plaquinil and Femara which is like tamoxifen (hormone blocker). Is Choroquine the same as Plaquinil? Maybe I shouldn't be taking them both. I am having a bad Lupus flare right now and my now they want to add Prednisone to the mix. Yikes! I hate taking all this stuff.

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I am sorry to say I was happy to find this site. I have had lupus for many years, with regular flare ups that I was managing. I had a mastectomy in September 2009. While my drs. wouldn't allow radiation, I did go through chemo. Chemo made me sick, so sick that sometimes I was afraid to close my eyes at night. I had my last chemo in March of 2010, since then my Lupus has been progressively worse. I cannot tolerate any daylight, ALL my mucus membranes from my eyes, mouth, throat, stomach, you get the picture, from top to bottom, are always inflamed. Here it is 330am and I am still awake because I have to pee every 10 minutes. I don't know, maybe your drs. are right and chemo should not be given to Lupus patients, I honestly don't know if I would go through it again knowing that I would have these side effects. If any other lupus/bc patients have had these same symptoms and got any relief, please post.
I wish you luck and good health.

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I am so glad you responded to my post. It is hard to find people who have Lupus and breast cancer. Was your breast cancer estrogen related? Mine was. They started me out on Femara (estrogen blocker) and the side effects almost killed me. Now I am on Aromasin and the side effects are not much better. I have only been on it for 2 weeks and I can feel the same things happening to me that the Femara did. My doctors were afraid to do chemo or radiation because the Lupus is so active. I am so weak and my immune system is completely shot. They body pain from the drugs just triple the body pain from the Lupus. I am ready to stop all the drugs and just focus on getting my Lupus under control. Do you take Plaquinil and Prednisone for your Lupus symptoms? I never sleep either, I hurt too much and, like you, I am running to the bathroom constantly.

I did change my diet after the cancer diagnosis. I no longer eat sugar, white flour, and I have almost completely stopped eating meats that have been injected with hormones, etc. It has made me feel better. I understand that sugar feeds cancer cells so I decided it wasn't worth it. I have always eaten tons of sugar in the past but I stopped cold turkey! What type of Lupus do you have? Mine is Systemic Lupus.

I am scared to death too. I know that Lupus and Breast cancer are a very horrible combination!

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