Letrozole after full hysterectomy

I’ve recently undergone laparoscopic full hysterectomy as precautionary measure, following a lumpectomy last August. I’ve been taking the oestrogen suppressant letrozole since last August and told I’d be on it for 5 years. If I now have no organs that produce oestrogen, what are the benefits in continuing to take it ? Many thanks

Hi @janie2 I’m sure the lovely nurses will be along shortly to give you the full answer but just in case I thought I’d dip in.

Letrozole, which is called an aromatase inhibitor or AI, is given to post-menopausal women who have oestrogen positive cancer. You are absolutely correct that the ovaries produce the oestrogen that our body needs when we are younger but when that stops after the menopause, or like you, after surgery, our bodies use a hormone called aromatase to covert fat cells into oestrogen. I’ve read that post-menopause we have only around 4% of oestrogen in our bodies that we used to have. But even this small amount of oestrogen can fed breast cancer tumours so has to be controlled. Letrozole stops the aromatase hormone being produced so that it can’t make oestrogen. This is why you have been prescribed Letrozole, to stop oestrogen being produced which may fed any cancer cells that may be lurking in your body (hopefully none).

I am taking Letrozole myself as I am post-menopausal. It is drug that has one job and it does it extremely effectively. I wish you well on it.

Hi janie2

Thanks for posting.

Treatment for primary breast cancer will often involve a combination of treatments such as surgery, radiotherapy and hormone therapy such as letrozole.

Letrozole is one of three drugs known as aromatase inhibitors, which is a group of drugs used to treat breast cancer in women who have gone through the menopause as mentioned by @Tigress. These drugs reduce the amount of oestrogen made in body fat after the menopause when the ovaries no longer produce oestrogen. The menopause can happen naturally or after the ovaries are removed.

Decisions about your treatment will have been discussed by the multidisciplinary team (MDT) at your hospital to determine what’s best in your individual situation. It seems likely that your treatment team will want you to carry on with letrozole, but they are best placed to discuss this with you as they have all your information to hand. You can contact your breast care nurse and she can arrange a time for you to discuss this further.

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