Letrozole -- to take or not to take?

Letrozole – to take or not to take?

Letrozole – to take or not to take? Hello Everybody,

I was hoping somebody could help me with this one. I have just finished 5 years of Tamoxifen and now have to decide whether to take Letrozole or not. My Onc says it’s not a clear-cut decision because my cancer was only 20% oestrogen and progesterone positive (in fact, in Paris, where I was initially treated, in 1999, they did not originally give me tamoxifen and only when I came back to UK 2.5 years later did the Marsden prescribe Tamoxifen). Hence, I am now 7.5 years since diagnosis. The other issue is nodal involvement – mine were clear when analysed but I had had 6 cycles of neo-adjuvant FEC before mastectomy/axillary sampling and so there is a small chance that there was some nodal involvement before the chemo! I know that Letrozole has been most effective for node-positive cancer.

Apart from that, my tumour was 1.5cm with extensive DCIS and possible vascular invasion. I have a BRCA2 mutation and so have since had a prophylactic mastectomy on the other side and had my ovaries removed (which has made me postmenopausal and therefore eligible for letrozole!).

My Onc at the Marsden has been very honest and said he can’t say I should definitely take it or definitely not take it because they don’t know enough about it yet for women with cases like mine. I have just read the list of possible side effects on the information leaflet and it sounds appalling!! I am particularly disturbed at the idea of losing my hair and it seems that joint pain is pretty common too!

I would love to be free of all drugs – but then again, if I thought this would really do me any good, I would take it in a heartbeat. Is there anybody else in this situation? Anybody taking femara who feels fine?

Grateful for any help you can give

Best Wishes


Letrozole Hi Tricia

I thought you might like to know that this site has more information
on letrozole at


Best wishes

Breast Cancer Care

Tricia Letrazole made no difference to my hair, And, as I’d been on Arimidex previously, no difference of any sort. L is kinder than A. So whatever your decision don’t let dread of side effects influence it. Best wishes, dilly

my friend was on Letrozole for 5 years and has experienced hardly any side effects.

Letrozole - side-effects Hi Tricia
I was diagnosed in 2003 at the age of 41. After WLE with no node involvement but some vascular invasion, I was given FEC and radio. Then took Tamoxifen for 2 years, and switched to Letrozole in May.
No problems with hair, (I lost every hair on my body with chemo), but recently have started getting joint pain, which is gradually building up.

I had joint pain with Tamoxifen, but this went away a couple of weeks after stopping, but started about 4 months in to Letrozole. It is particularly bad in my feet and ankles, but this gets better as the day goes on, and in my middle finger - this doesn’t improve during the day.

I have spoken to BC nurse, and am due to go back to discuss further. It seems that really my options are to take Ibuprofen, but I wouldn’t want to do this long term, stop taking Letrozole or put up with the pain.
So far pain is mosty discomfort and annoying but bearable.

One thing that I have found, and would be interested to hear if anyone else has experienced this. My feet seem to have grown! I can’t fit in to the shoes that I was wearing last winter. Just bought some new shoes and have definitely gone up 1/2 a size. May be that I am more sensitive to tight fitting shoes. Am I unique in this?

Letrozole Hi there

I am only very slightly ER +, (very small amount) and after chemo and rads started on Tamoxifen. Within 6 months dx with bone mets and changed to femara.

Find it okay to take, slight thinning of hair in first 3 months but not particularly evident now. Definite change to texture of hair, but having had none for so long, it feels fine to me.

Slightly achy joints, but again nothing that would stop me taking the drug if it helps. Certainly don’t need painkillers unless I really overdo it!!

All in all, if they / you believe it would be suitable for you, I would say go for it!! (Have been on it 10 months now)

Hope it all goes well for you



Hello Ladies,

Thanks very much for taking the time to give me your advice and experience. I just started to take letrozole today! Hopefully, I won’t have bad side effects but I’ll let you know.

Best wishes to you all

Love Tricia X