Been on letrozole for 3 years 3 months. Thinking of stopping - thinning spine, all over aches, sleep etc. Been suggested swap to Exemestane but side effects appear the same and certainly don’t think I can cope with new ones.Just wanted to know if there is any evidence people switching have benefited or it’s just a bit of wishful thinking.


Thank you for your post.  

It sounds as though this is a difficult time for you and you are now considering stopping taking letrozole.  

We hear from many women who are struggling with the side effects of their breast cancer treatment, so you are not alone in feeling this way. Joint, muscle pains and thinning of the bones are common side effects of letrozole that can interfere with your quality of life and can affect one’s sleep and mood.   

When side effects are severe, some people may be asked by their treatment team to stop taking hormone treatment for a short period of time to see if their symptoms improve. Switching to a different aromatase inhibitor drug such as exemestane can be suggested to see if it suits better. The side effects may be similar, but everyone reacts differently to drugs and some people have more side effects than others.    

If there is no improvement you may be recommended a different hormone therapy, tamoxifen which has fewer joint-related side effects. Your treatment team will be able to talk to you about the benefits of doing this.   

We offer a range of free supportive services for anyone who has had a diagnosis of breast cancer which you may be interested in. Talking to someone who has had a similar experience can be helpful and our Someone Like Me service can match you with a trained volunteer who’s had a similar experience to you. They’ll be a phone call or email away to answer your questions, offer support or simply listen.   

We are currently evaluating this service and would appreciate your feedback. Please click here to the survey. It should take approximately 10 minutes to complete.   

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). 

If you would prefer one of our nurses to call you. To do this, please complete this form ticking the box agreeing to a call back.   

Our usual opening hours are Monday to Friday 9am - 4pm and 9am - 1pm on Saturday.   

We are closed Monday the 29th May for the bank holiday.  

Out of hours you can leave a message and we will call you back when we next open.   

Best wishes  


Breast Care Nurse   

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