Letrozole and osteoporosis

I’ve been taking Letrozole for nearly 5 months, following a double mastectomy (oestrogen-receptive cancer both sides) in August, and I’ve just had the results of the dexa scan which, I believe, they put all breast cancer patients on Letrozole through, given how common osteoporosis is as a side-effect.


Essentially, I’m just in the osteoporosis range (-2.8 T score on the lumbar spine: what a learning curve this has all been :smileyhappy:!) and accordingly, so long as I’m taking Letrozole , they’d want me to take biophosphanates (against osteoporosis). If I wasn’t taking Letrozole, they wouldn’t.


According to my consultant, I have a 2% greater chance of being alive in 5 years (aren’t statistics wonderful!) if I take the Letrozole compared with if I don’t. 2%, obviously, isn’t that much, though someone did point out that perhaps there’d be a 10% chance of being still alive but diseased! …


I’ve been reading up about biophosphanates and they don’t sound particularly pleasant, and in any case I really don’t want to get on that merry-go-round where you’re taking one drug to balance off the side-effects of another, etc etc. As it is, I’ve upped my nutritional regime considerably since I was diagnosed, and will be doing another course at the Penny Brohn Centre next month.


I know it’s only me who can make this decision - and my inclination at the moment is to stop taking the Letrozole - but if anyone has any comments/further information, I’d really appreciate the input.



Hi Rose,

It maybe worth asking about tamoxifen as an alternative, as it is protective of bones. It works differently to letrazole/anastrozole &, so I’ve read, acts like HRT on bones.

I am now post menopausal & do have the option of going onto anastrozole which is similar to letrazole, but decided against it, as my risk is low, I’ve not had problems with side effects & I was concerned about bone health. Both the onc & surgeon were happy with this. 

I have also read that in terms of stats, there is not a lot of difference overall in survival rates between the two, although the AI’s are technically more effective in post menopausal women.

ann x

I was told every 2 years to make sure that the bones are not deteriorated taking the letrozole medication.
I am thanking God as I have been clear 4 years, but I have been told since that they are now keeping an eye on the bowel since they took a small biopsy ?. I had a bilateral mastectomy in November 2014 and never once regretted my decision. Just mind blowing at the thought of having bowel cancer now, and I think this has escalated my OCD problems because I am constantly trying to keep busy so that I don’t have any time to think about it lol

Well, tamox suits me fine, Rose & best wishes with it all.
ann x

Hi rose, my poor nan God rest her soul was on her cancer medication for 20 years when she was only supposed to be on it for 5 years. Not one person who is in the medical profession picked up on this.
My breast cancer was hormone based and I was told that the letrozole will block cancer hormones and hopefully will kill any cells left lurking around the body, but I am not sure about the consequences that would come if you stop the letrozole. Peace and blessings x

I have been taking Letrozole for two weeks. Haven’t had my Dexa scan yet but my oncologist said it would be repeated in 2 years.

I’ve recently been started on letrozole, 3 weeks ago. I’ve never had a dexa scan and not had one mentioned to me by anyone?. No aches or pains that I didn’t have before but I’ve lost half of the hair I managed to keep all though nearly 5 months of chemo with the aid of the cold cap

I’ve had two bone scans, before and after my surgeries to check for spread but a dexa scan is not the same.

I automatically had one allocated when I started anastrozole and was advised I would have them regularly as long as I was on the tablets.