Concerned about the side effects of anastrozole

Posted by tinalove @tinalove, Jan 31, 2016

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?

@trixie1313

@kathyomaha55
I had to have a mammogram 3 mos following my 2nd breast surgery and just as I finished radiation therapy and had burns and blisters. I told tech how very painful it was and was afraid of mammogram. They were so kind and manually brought the pressure down from the machinery…best ever mammogram in my life! Don't be afraid to let them know you are concerned and ask if they can manually do this for you.

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They have me down for a Digital tomosynthesis a 3-dimensional picture of the breast using X-rays. from Google: Digital tomosynthesis is a new kind of test that's trying to overcome these three big issues. It takes multiple X-ray pictures of each breast from many angles. The breast is positioned the same way it is in a conventional mammogram, but only a little pressure is applied — just enough to keep the breast in a stable position during the procedure. The X-ray tube moves in an arc around the breast while 11 images are taken during a 7-second examination. Then the information is sent to a computer, where it is assembled to produce clear, highly focused 3-dimensional images throughout the breast.

Early results with digital tomosynthesis are promising. Researchers believe that this new breast imaging technique will make breast cancers easier to see in dense breast tissue and will make breast screening more comfortable.

I'll let you know if it's more comfortable or not!

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@francine6829

Please elaborate. Aromasin is a steriod … is that a bad thing? I have not felt insomnia

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I'm not familiar with that steroid – but in general, steroids fight inflammation and should only be taken for a short period of time. Long term steroids in general have BAD long term side effects. I've been given it (shots and pills) for asthma & allergies. You need to ask your oncologist about this and any long term effects. I'm guessing there are many different types of steroids some are a form of hormones.

My Grandma in the 1940's was given massive steroid doses for her arthritis when they had not idea of the long term effects – she ended up with Cushings syndrome and subsequently passed at 59. Her massive doses contributed to her death. My dad was terminal with pulmonary fibrosis – they gave him massive doses, but they were just trying to keep him alive & not concerned with the long term side effects.

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@francine6829

Please elaborate. Aromasin is a steriod … is that a bad thing? I have not felt insomnia

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Google this, I found this: Exemestane is an oral steroidal aromatase inhibitor that is used in ER-positive breast cancer in addition to surgery and/or radiation in post-menopausal women. … Type II aromatase inhibitors such as anastrozole and letrozole, by contrast, are not steroids and work by interfering with the aromatase's heme. There's a lot of info out there on this.

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@francine6829

Please elaborate. Aromasin is a steriod … is that a bad thing? I have not felt insomnia

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@francine6829
Long-term use of anything steroidal presents its own issues. Best to confer with your doctor on this. For me and at my age, the increased risk of glaucoma, cataracts, and high blood pressure, for example, would be unwanted.

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@francine6829

I was tested and have zero estrogen. The doctors ALL want to keep me on AIs for 5 years

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francine6829 – Whether the doctors recommend staying on the AI's does depend on the Stage and Grade of your cancer, the treatment you received and your side effects. In my case, Stage 1 cancer, my recurrence risk (according to statistic, which are only one consideration and the genomic testing of my cancer) I am 'low risk'. The AI's would essentially reduce my risk of recurrence by 40-50% but my risk was already low at 6%, so it helped me with my decision. Serious side effects or going from 6% to about 3% risk was not worth it for me. That's not many people's situation I realize. If your risk is higher then of course, if you can get through the AI use, then reducing that risk is paramount.
I opted for a bi lateral mastectomy which put me in a situation to have some options on follow up treatment. But my cancer was lobular and had presented in both breasts over time, so ………….opting for the mastectomy was also an easier decision.
There are so many factors to consider in treatment. My doctors would have preferred I stay on AI's as well. Their job is to eradicate cancer and their benchmark for success with their patients is treating and keeping cancer at bay.
Hugs to you. I hope you can keep on the full course of AI treatment and give cancer a good kick in the pants!

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@kathyomaha55

Google this, I found this: Exemestane is an oral steroidal aromatase inhibitor that is used in ER-positive breast cancer in addition to surgery and/or radiation in post-menopausal women. … Type II aromatase inhibitors such as anastrozole and letrozole, by contrast, are not steroids and work by interfering with the aromatase's heme. There's a lot of info out there on this.

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Yes, I have read everything on line about exemestane. It doesn't go into enough detail about the steroid

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@elizm

@francine6829
Long-term use of anything steroidal presents its own issues. Best to confer with your doctor on this. For me and at my age, the increased risk of glaucoma, cataracts, and high blood pressure, for example, would be unwanted.

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my doctor was the one who recommended Aromasin over Femura. I have not found any studies that discussed the steroid effect of aromasin so I don't know if there is enough steroid to make a difference.

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@francine6829

I was tested and have zero estrogen. The doctors ALL want to keep me on AIs for 5 years

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I had a very small amount of Estrogen. After speaking with Intergrative Medicine Oncologist, I found out the food we eat is full of hormones. The doctors aren't just concerned with the hormones we make but also those we get from our food! My Doctor has asked me to go organic, hormone free dairy and grass fed meats.

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Hello. New member of the club, here. Stage 1 lobular on the left, LCIS right. Lumpectomy surgery couple weeks ago. The surgeon says radiation for a month and Arimidex for 5 years. I’m 68 and wondering if I should just do the radiation and screw the hormone stuff. Former smoker with mild COPD, currently on BP and cholesterol meds that are doing fine. The internet research of Arimidex is the reason I’m here. … and … frankly, you’ve all terrified me. Quality of life on this drug sounds like an absolute nightmare.

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I have not been on Arimidex, but my understanding is that the side effects of AI are pretty much the same. Went on Letrozole for 6 weeks, and had too much joint pain to continue. Am now on Aromosin and am feeling pain but not as much as Letrozole. My advice is to give it a try. You can always stop. I found radiation to be a non event. Other than some redness, I breezed through it.

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@samy

Hello. New member of the club, here. Stage 1 lobular on the left, LCIS right. Lumpectomy surgery couple weeks ago. The surgeon says radiation for a month and Arimidex for 5 years. I’m 68 and wondering if I should just do the radiation and screw the hormone stuff. Former smoker with mild COPD, currently on BP and cholesterol meds that are doing fine. The internet research of Arimidex is the reason I’m here. … and … frankly, you’ve all terrified me. Quality of life on this drug sounds like an absolute nightmare.

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75% of patients have no side effects or they are mild enough that they take it for 5 yrs. 25% stop within the first 2 years from the side effects. I do know it can raise your blood pressure. Talk to your oncologist about your concerns. I'm going for the 5 years. Mainly it dries out your everything: hair, skin, eyes. I've have mild hair loss, and the joint pain (in my hands too!) so far it's all manageable. Radiation was okay for me too – just like a sunburn & some fatigue. Hang in there.

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@samy

Hello. New member of the club, here. Stage 1 lobular on the left, LCIS right. Lumpectomy surgery couple weeks ago. The surgeon says radiation for a month and Arimidex for 5 years. I’m 68 and wondering if I should just do the radiation and screw the hormone stuff. Former smoker with mild COPD, currently on BP and cholesterol meds that are doing fine. The internet research of Arimidex is the reason I’m here. … and … frankly, you’ve all terrified me. Quality of life on this drug sounds like an absolute nightmare.

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68 is young! I have been on tamoxifin for two years, everything is manageable. Skin and eyes are drier, no hair loss and sometimes joint pain. Rather have those problems and fight for longer life witn my family, just my thoughts. I'm 61.

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@samy

Hello. New member of the club, here. Stage 1 lobular on the left, LCIS right. Lumpectomy surgery couple weeks ago. The surgeon says radiation for a month and Arimidex for 5 years. I’m 68 and wondering if I should just do the radiation and screw the hormone stuff. Former smoker with mild COPD, currently on BP and cholesterol meds that are doing fine. The internet research of Arimidex is the reason I’m here. … and … frankly, you’ve all terrified me. Quality of life on this drug sounds like an absolute nightmare.

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samy – Once you're settled in with your other treatments, give the Arimidex a try. You could be the person who has few if any side effects and yet you'll get the upside of lowering your recurrence. You don't know until you try. I wasn't able to use any of them BUT I'm allergic to many things (antibiotics is a big one) and I can't take ibuprofen anymore either (bleeding)……so I'm just not a 'pill girl'. I take no prescription meds at all and my doctors look terrified when they have to give me one, ha ha! Give them a try because you can always quit or change meds if you're having problems.
FYI – I was Stage 1 lobular on my right and LCIS on my left—-we're like twins (only opposite?).
Hugs

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Thank you all for the replies. I’ll be asking a lot of questions of my oncologist (dear God, I can believe I have an oncologist). No doubt all my questions have been asked before by some other victim of this horror. 75% are good odds, but these stories are so distressing. If the day is filled with pain sufficient to debilitate, the cure is as bad or worse than the disease. I’ll be 69 in June, and it sure doesn’t sound like taking any of this poison until the age of 74 is worth it.

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I am struggling with the same decisions

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