Arimidex and bone loss

I have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. My medical oncologist wants me to go on Arimidex plus Zometa. I also have osteoporosis in my back and osteopenia in my hip. I am concerned that I could have a fracture. Has anyone else had this problem?

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Marcy,
I also have breast cancer. I was diagnosed in 2009. I had a bilateral mastectomy, ACT chemo, and herceptin, and radiation. After a over a year on the chemo I was diagnosed with osteoporosis in my spine and hips. I started Arimidex after chemo and radiation and a mass was found on my spine and adrenal gland. My onc wanted me to start Zometa and have a bunch of teeth pulled first to avoid ONJ later.

Long story short....I would not take the Zometa injections and instead am on calcium and vitamin D and have changed my diet so that I absorb a lot of calcium. Two years later I have gone from total osteoporosis (and a small fall produced two breaks in my elbow and several fractures in my wrist), to just having osteopenia in my hips. I would never go on any biophosonate unless the cancer was in all of my bones extensively and I was fighting to extend my life by another couple of years....then I would consider it. But I plan on living many years. I believe I fractured my arm because I took fosomax as per my onc's instruction for almost a year, but when I fell and broke my arm I stopped the fosomax immediately. There is a class action lawsuit against Fosomax for this very same reason.

There is definitely bone loss from the lack of estrogen in the bones, which is what Arimidex does as an aromatase inhibitor. But you can build bones naturally with calcium and vitamin D both as supplements but more importantly to get it from the foods you eat and drink. I stay away from dairy and drink almond, coconut milks, which is loaded with calcium. There are many foods with calcium and that way you build strong bone instead of Zometa which artificially inhibits the reabsorbtion of dead bone cells thereby making brittle bones over the long haul. Too many dead cells trapped in the bone will "look" like the density has gotten better, but it is like building the foundation of a home with cement building blocks that are not stable and full of holes...it will hold it up initially, but over time the home will collapse due to the unstableness of the foundation.

I hope my story helps you. If you want to know any more you can friend me and ask.

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Zometa is the same medication in Reclast, but only 4mg per infusion rather tahn 5mg per infusion. Zometa is given much more often than once a year and the indication is "hypercalcemia of malignancy" which means for breast cancer, that the cancer has spread to the bones and in destroying the bone, is causing the elevation of calcium.
While the use of Arimidex given as a prophylactic treatment in those with estrogen sensitive breast cancer to prevent spread can cause bone loss, for someone who already has metastases to bone, osteoporosis would be the least of your worries. It sounds like you need a long conversation with your oncologist about the reasons he is prescribing the Arimedex and the Zometa, and to understand that what is a good decision for one person may be dangerous for someone else.
Thanks frenchy50 for sharing your experience, but your situation and marcy48's may not be as similar as they first appear.

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I agree that each persons needs are unique and you should consult with other oncogists who have alot of experience with hormonally sensitive breast cancers. I have MBC. I am involved in a clinical trial for zometa which is very necessary to strengthen2.bones and keep cancer from infiltration bones and then to other organs. I take femara to reduce estrogen as well as a diet with no dairy, soy, gluten free, no red meat, and as little processes sugars to decrease glucose in the body which fuels the cancer. I lost 30 lbs and am in the gym every day doing yoga, spin and. COre strengthening classes. Diet is half the battle. Zometa has side effects but good dentists can watch for signs of ONj and prevention helps. I think finding an oncologist or team with nutritionist and functional medicine specialists to supplement with appropriate vitamins and supplements is key to fighting cancer today! There are lots of good resources out there. It never read the Internet sites that are not accredited sites. I would be happy to provide more info if anyone would like. But what is good for one persons cancer is not necessarily appropriate for another when it comes to meds.

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I would not take arimidex; tamoxifene, raloxifene and "dim" a natural supplement are better choices with osteoporosis. All oncologist are pushing arimidex, beware.

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