Letrozole: 8 months on, 5 days off.

I have just lifted my arms and tied my hair up, without pain.  I’m more than a little amazed and have to document this somewhere. 


On Thursday, almost exactly 8 months after I first started taking Letrozole, I saw the oncologist and he has agreed to my having a 2 month break.  I have been complaining for 8 months about aches and pains, until even I couldn’t believe I wasn’t imagining it.  This time last week I couldn’t stand up and walk without first leaning forward for the first several meters while my back straightened itself up.  I couldn’t get out of my chair or my car without groaning.  I couldn’t roll over in bed without struggling, and going to the toilet in the middle of the night was agony and involved several manouvres including holding on to the bedposts until I got to the door.  (And then got back in to a bed that was damp from sweating.)  I had forgotten all the little things, like being unable to tie my hair up.


The decision weighs heavily, though.  I immediately came to this forum to read about everyone else’s experiences, trying to justify myself.  I was shocked to see that for many people (that I read about) the difference in prognosis was less than 1%.  I had checked my statistics on the new NHS Predict and thought that my 8% change was too small to justify the side effects.  75% 10 year survival rate with surgery alone vs 83% with Letrozole and bisphosphonates.  And the minute I stopped the tablets I started worrying about whether I’ve done the wrong thing.

(While typing this I had to start the evening meal, which will be spaghetti bolognaise.  I added the meat (800g) to the pot and stirred.  I couldn’t have done that a couple of days ago!)


So - the first difference I noticed after stopping the tablets was actually that my breasts felt fuller and softer and scarcely fit my bra.  This doesn’t do my head any good, I might add.  And the pain in the breast changed from general pain throughout the breast, to a more localised pain near the surgical site. 


At this minute I am elated.  I know I am going to go through sleepless nights worrying about doing the right thing, but for the next seven weeks and 2 days I shall enjoy my old body.  I would be interested to hear from anyone else who made this decision.





6 days off, and my breast (non cancer one) is painful in the way it used to be before menopause.  I’m irritated and short tempered, and behaving as if I’m premenstrual.  My husband has suggested I go back on the tablets!  Funny man!

Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Hello Pecan.

I have not stopped my treatment so cannot help you there. I wanted to say that I found your Posts interesting. The things you are noticing (like being able to tie your hair up etc), we just usually take for granted don’t we? As for the pre-men type symptoms you detail today, well your body will surely need a bit of time to adapt.

You sound like you have had a hell of a time. It’s a dilemma isn’t it weighing up the pros and cons. Can’t remember what my Predict figues are for hormone treatment, maybe less than yours. I know the cancer hormone receptor status was 8/8 so that spurs me on to continue with Anastrazole. However, the effects of hormone treatment are not hitting me as hard - so fingers crossed this continues.

Enjoy your break and take time to arrive at a decision you are comfortable with whether stopping completely or trying Letro again or another treatment. And watch that husband of yours!!
All the best X