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Letrozole and Anastrozol- Blanket Medicating


Re: Letrozole and Anastrozol- Blanket Medicating

Hi Kaz17

Thank you for your message.

As @Cherrytree58  mentions hormone therapy is offered to reduce the risk of breast cancer coming back but does not give a guarantee. Hormone therapy (letrozole, anastrozole and tamoxifen) will be prescribed if your breast cancer is oestrogen receptor (ER) positive and has been used for many years. ER positive means oestrogen is helping the cancer to grow.  When you’re prescribed an aromatase inhibitor after surgery, you will usually take it for five years. However, some people will be recommended to continue taking them for up to 10 years.

How long other hormone drugs are given for varies from person to person. Treatment for hormone positive tumours is individualised and depends on many different factors, including size, grade and lymph node status. The sum of these will produce a risk for recurrence in the future. Your breast cancer was small, and no lymph nodes contained cancer.

It sounds like you are having a challenging time and treatments are having a real impact on your quality of life.  For some people side effects can persist and when this happens it is good to talk to your treatment team as they may be able to offer ways of improving your symptoms. If you have not already done so it may also be helpful to have a discussion with your treatment team about the amount of benefit you are likely to get from the hormone treatment. Many treatment teams use NHS PREDICT to determine this.

If after exhausting all options, the side effects remain too severe, some women make the decision (along with their oncologist) to discontinue the hormone treatment. You can make the decision that is right for you.

We offer a range of free supportive services that you might be interested in. For more details about all of these services, please see the information on the link.

You may find it helpful to 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, (Relay UK -prefix 18001).

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Best wishes


Breast Care Nurse

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Re: Letrozole and Anastrozol- Blanket Medicating

Hi Kaz,

I was diagnosed with oestrogen receptor positive breast cancer in January 2016, had a double mastectomy, chemo and radiotherapy. Began Anastrozole start of 2017, but during 2021 came off it with the same reasoning as you.


When the first Lockdown happened during Covid, yearly check ups and physical examinations were put on hold, and instead would have an annual phone call from my oncologist, which to me is pointless.... my last letter from her was asking 'if I could tolerate it' to continue on Anastrozole for another five years.


I have now found out I have suspected secondary breast cancer in the liver, which looking at the results, was there when I was still taking Anastrozole in 2020.

During my last check up, I don't believe I was examined properly and ideally should have had an annual CT scan.

Anastrozole is not a complete guarantee that breast cancer will not return, but to 'prevent the likelihood' of it returning. 

I am now waiting for my urgent referral to the hospital for more 'investigations'.


Take care




Letrozole and Anastrozol- Blanket Medicating

Please can you tell me when these two drugs were first used to stop breast cancer returning. When you have breast cancer are they, and Tamoxifen, always used? And why is the prescription for so long, 5 years?

I’m struggling so much after 18 months. My cancer was so small, nothing in my lymph nodes. It seems such a brutal way to reduce the chance of it coming back. I feel like it’s a blanket treatment for all but doesn’t take into consideration their patients particular diagnosis and after surgery findings. My body feels stripped of anything good and I have to suffer this for so long. I don’t think the reduction in percentage of it returning is worth it.

Are doctors over prescribing?