Letrozole long term side effects

Hi, I was diagnosed in 2016 with stage2, grade3 breast cancer. Had lumpectomy and axillary clearance as 3 lymph nodes involved. Had chemotherapy, radiotherapy then on Letrozole. Had some lymphoedema but only mild. I’ve now got discomfort in the affected arm, aching and uncomfortable, also hot flushes and sweating that are really severe, is it possible that Letrozole side effects get worse the longer you are on it? I’ve got 3 more years and don’t really want to come of it as it feels like my safety blanket but the the sweating and flushes day and night are a real problem.

Hi jo359

Thanks for posting.

It sounds like a difficult time for you.

Hot flushes are the most commonly reported menopausal symptom due to breast cancer treatments such as letrozole. Many women contact us describing the difficulties they are experiencing with them. The frequency and severity of them vary from person to person. For most women they will fade over time and become less severe, but for some they may continue to experience hot flushes which can really affect their quality of life. It’s difficult to say why your hot flushes and night sweats have become more severe. Sometimes people find they can experience different side effects when the brand of letrozole they are using changes.

We know that there are different things that help with hot flushes. You can speak with your GP to discuss possible options for managing hot flushes. You may want to ask about a referral to specialist menopause clinic where you can get further advice and information about coping with menopausal symptoms.

It’s not possible for us to say if the discomfort and aching that you are experiencing in your affected arm is due to the letrozole. You mention that you have mild lymphoedema, so this could be a possible reason for your symptoms.

We would always suggest getting any new or persistent symptoms checked so you could make an appointment with your GP or if you are still in contact with your hospital-based treatment team you could contact your breast care nurse, so you can be assessed.

Do call our helpline if you would like to talk this through or have any further questions. The helpline team have time to listen to your concerns, talk things through and signpost you to more support and information. Your call will be confidential, and the number is free from UK landlines and all mobile networks. The number is 0808 800 6000, (Relay UK -prefix 18001).

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Best wishes


Breast Care Nurse

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