Hormone drugs and Second opinions

I am 74 with small 11mm cancer but no lymph nodes. I had lumpectomy and radiotherapy. I was worried about letrozole and all the bad effects so the breast nurse arranged a second opinion without me asking. The second oncologist asked me about my present problems as well as the cancer diagnosis. She then gave me a score which said taking letrozole gave me very little percentage better outcome. It was up to me whether I took it or not. This percentage chart was not mentioned at my first oncologist appointment. I do think if you are worried at all or feel you are being rushed do get a second opinion. Do also contact the cancer nurse who can be so helpful.
I may well take letrozole for 6 months to lower hormone level and then stop.

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I’m 73 and have taken letrozole for the last 6 years. A lot of problems arise because of the brand you take. Most of us try different brands before we find a one to work. I take Accord or Bristol and tolerance both with very little side effects. Try it. If you don’t like it then try another brand. Funny but they are all different. Good luck

I started a thread on here ‘minimal benefit from letrozole’ for the same reason. It’s like the emperor’s new clothes. Doctors, nurses, academics and patients talk about the ‘significant’ benefits that can be balanced against all the short and long term nasty side effects. However, on an individual basis, when we ask about the benefit to us, it is miniscule. Just 1-3% improved chance of disease free survival over 5/10 years. I still don’t know what is going on with this!!

If Letrozole has too many side effects for you, you could ask about taking Tamoxifen. I was allergic to Letrozole so have to take Tamoxifen but I think the benefit is almost as good with fewer side effects.

Hello nickinike

Thanks for posting.

Some people find a second opinion very useful. It sounds as if the second oncologist may have been referring to NHS Predict. This can help with decisions about treatment.

Current evidence is that hormone therapy after primary breast cancer is continued for 5-10 years but the benefit is greater for some women than others. Side effects can also vary from person to person. Many women can experience side effects that impact quality of life making it difficult to carry on with. Other women are less troubled with side effects, or they are only very mild. The aim is for the benefits of a treatment to outweigh any side effects. Side effects of hormone treatment often settle withing 3-6 months of starting it. As you say, you can start the letrozole and you may want to see how you are on it before deciding whether to continue or stop it. As @BrendAnne says different brands can make a difference, or you can switch to another form of hormone therapy as @jan_del_mar suggests.

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