Concerned about the side effects of anastrozole
I completed all treatments for breast cancer but now I am supposed to take hormone blocker, named anastrozole. im concerned about the side effects. Has anyone here taken it and did anyone have hair loss?
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What kind of blood tests are you having?
I'm sorry I don't have that info in front of me atm. I get two blood tests done every 6 months. They are supposed to show presence or absence of enzyme changes related to the cancer and other data bits like vit D, which I was low on. That's important for your bone health. I have the folder in my car downstairs. I will post or reply more specifically when they're in hand. My specialist is also going to order a bone scan every year. I had my first one and it was fine, but that was a baseline test. He will monitor any changes. I'm still not sold on the med. I have two pages of questions to ask him next month. I do not like the side effects at all. I have high anxiety most of the time. Committing to the med is a daily thing with me.
@tenayalake86 don't bother getting anything out of the car. Nice of you! I was just wondering if you meant a test for cancer markers, which my doc doesn't do, and it seems yours doesn't either. I found side effects settled down but everyone is different. Hope yours do too!
Thanks. Actually, after I wrote you, I realized they are online on my computer. Duh! I can't understand the medical shorthand. I'll add markers to my list for my appt. next month. I like and trust the oncologist I'm seeing, but it can't hurt to ask him. I thought I had asked about markers but this disease is very challenging and I don't remember everything he says. And I don't take very good notes. Thanks for the heads up.
Oh, and I'm glad the side effects are settled down for you. I hope they will for me also. Thanks for your note.
I’m just a year in on letrozole, after a blood clot on tamoxifen. I am very stiff, have weak bones to start, foot fracture in October. I’m wondering now that you are off of it, did the joint pain and stiffness get better? Thanks
Yes, I was less creaky in the morning. As a side thought, I will note the irony of a medication to prevent recurrence creating bone pain….which is one of the symptoms of metastatic breast cancer. Talk about messing with your mind!!!! (For what it's worth, my oncologist told me that metastatic bone cancer is painful all the time, so if my aches and pains were in the morning only, I didn't need to worry. That advice helped a lot.)
@tenayalake86 my oncologists don't do markers. They tell me they are unreliable. Just to be clear!
Thanks for the extra info. I still might ask, but your information helps. I really should know more about what exactly they are doing but I guess I feel a little overwhelmed sometimes. Thanks again.
I don't know how many of the people posting here had the OncotypeDX, or other genomics test, to evaluate likely risk of recurrence. I wish more women were automatically informed of any and all tests that might help them make some treatment decisions. I had a lumpectomy in October 2021 and an OncotypeDX score that yielded a "risk of recurrence of 3% within 9 years" if I took an aromatase inhibitor. Using the industry statistic that two oncologists cited to me, wherein aromatase inhibitors are considered to reduce recurrence risk by about 45% over 5 years, I calculate that my risk of recurrence is a little over 5% if I don't take aromatase inhibitors.
I had a strong reaction to the drugs and made a decision that the risk/reward profile for them wasn't one that I felt comfortable with for quality of life reasons. That's a decision that I was only able to make though because there is some credibility to the OncotypeDX test and the low risk of recurrence it yielded also matched what my two oncologists thought I would receive — given the small size of the tumor, the early stage at which it was identified and removed with clean margins and a negative sentinel lymph node biopsy. But there are no guarantees to any of this so it's really important to take the time that you need to identify what path seems most comfortable. The one thing about taking the drugs is that one can change one's mind. Unlike radiation or chemo, where once done 'tis done, the drugs can be tried. Or changed for another if side effects are an issue. And in some cases the doses can be reduced. So whatever one decides it's not necessarily an irrevocable decision from which there's no looking back.