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Finishing letrozole next month.


Re: Finishing letrozole next month.

Hi Jan

Thanks for posting.

Having conflicting advice from healthcare professionals can be confusing.

Clinical trials have demonstrated that some post-menopausal women may benefit from taking an aromatase inhibitor (AI) like letrozole for up to 10 years.  

Trial results have shown that letrozole may reduce the risk of breast cancer coming back (recurrence) or a new cancer developing in the other breast. However, there was no significant difference in overall survival (the number of people dying from breast cancer).

Aromatase inhibitors all work in similar ways and share many of the same side effects, such as thinning of the bones (osteoporosis)These have to be balanced against the benefits of continuing treatment especially as you already have experienced thinning of the bones.

Current guidelines recommend that extended therapy with an aromatase inhibitor be offered to, or considered for, post-menopausal women with ER positive breast cancer depending on their risk of disease recurrence.

It sounds like the most recent oncologist you spoke with was happy to go along with five years. Once you have made the decision to stop, you just stop taking the tablets one day. You may want to discuss with your GP whether to continue the Calcichew tablets or start any other treatment like bisphosphonates for your bone thinning. You can also ask if you need another bone density scan.

Do call our Helpline if you would like to talk this through or have any further questions. Your call will be confidential, and the number is free from UK landlines and all mobile networks.

The number is 0808 800 6000 (Text relay prefix 18001).

Our opening hours are Monday to Friday 9am - 4pm and 9am -1pm on Saturday. Out of hours you can leave a message and we will call you back when we next open.

Best wishes


Breast Cancer Now Nurse

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Finishing letrozole next month.

Can I ask for some advice from the nurses please.  I'm more or less coming to the end of my five years of taking letrozole. My original oncologist wanted me on it just for five years, my second said I could stop after four if I wanted ( which I chose not to do) and the most recent one...who I saw about another, luckily, non malignant lump, said he would have kept me on it for ten years, but he was happy to go along with the five year recommendation from the original consultant.

Confusing eh! So my question is, do I literally finish this month's pack and that's it... or do you have to cut down gradually to make the transition from hormone blocking treatment to ' normal' hormone levels easier on your system.

I am sixty nine this year, so many years past the menopause.

My cancer unit is temporarily not seeing patients, and the oncologists have been seconded into covid-19 and end of life care, as I'm in a high coronavirus area.

I assume I keep on with the calcichew, as I know from scans the letrozole had caused quite bad bone thinning.

I'd be grateful for any advice you can offer, or anyone's experience of finally coming off letrozole.

Keep safe everyone.