“Body’s aching all the time” - letrozole??

Hi all, I’m new here. I’m 63, had a Lumpectomy and a few lymph nodes removed in Nov 2021, started on letrozole straight after, then a week of radio therapy in March 22. 

I’ve found the night sweats/hot flushes, fatigue and brain fog were no worse than before, my main issue has been stiffness and joint pain. Annoyingly no one, not even the usual warnings in the packet, warned me about this. I had to straighten up very slowly after getting out of a chair and walked around like a rusty robot for a few minutes.  This went on for about 4 months then it suddenly eased off, but as I also have some osteoarthritis (hip replacement in March 2021) I was sort of used to it and, perhaps stupidly, just ignored it and never even thought it could be down to the letrozole.  Compared to other people’s experiences of post surgery treatments I’d read, I thought I was getting off lightly.

But then I suddenly developed carpal tunnel syndrome in both wrists (wrist splints sorted most of it), and now I find any soft tissue injuries, particularly to tendons, take weeks and weeks to heal and are far more painful and severe than previously. It was only after I went to a “breast care day” about 4 months ago that I realised this COULD be down to the letrozole.  Does this drug impact how quickly the body heals? Any tendon or muscle injuries (eg I put my back out reaching across the wash basin to pick up a toothbrush for heaven’s sake! It took 5 weeks for the muscle spasms to stop, even with physio. Then I slightly strained my foot a month ago, but a week later the pain started and is just getting worse and worse. I’m supposed to be going on a gentle walking holiday in 3 weeks but even with orthotics I’m limping even just around the house.) I’m normally very active, arthritis permitting, but 18 months on this seems to be getting worse and is really badly impacting my day to day life and is getting me down badly.  I’m stiff as a board and in too much pain to be able to do much about it. Any suggestions? 

Hi Maryanna,

Thank you for your post.

I am sorry to see that you haven’t had any responses yet. I am hoping my response will help the members to see your post and offer their experience and/or advice.

In the meantime, please remember, if you have any clinical questions or need to talk things through, our breast care nurses are here and happy to chat.

You can find more here 

Sending you our warmest wishes,


I already had carpal tunnel syndrome before I was diagnosed with breast cancer this time. Ihad a small operation to release nerves in my wrist of my right hand as this was the hand that I used most and had the most severe carpal tunnel syndrome. At first I got immediate relief but unfortunately I developed long term nerve pain.

It took ages for this to resolve as the op set off a reaction and I had nerve pains shooting out from the area for about six months, which were helped by hot and cold. I applied either hot water bottles or freezer blocks to ease them. I also tried tapping the areas to make the reaction calm down. I eventually had physiotherapy to sort it out. I had to do this because I couldn’t wipe my bottom before except by using my left hand. The horror.

Although my carpal tunnel is worse than it was since I have started letrozole I am holding off complaining too much as I am afraid I don’t want to have further surgery in view of the previous problems I had…