Topic: For Arimidex (Anastrozole) users, new, past, and ongoing

Forum: Hormonal Therapy - Before, During, and After — This is a safe place to share your experiences of others considering or on hormonal treatment.

Posted on: Jul 10, 2012 05:46AM - edited Nov 15, 2017 12:07PM by moderators

Posted on: Jul 10, 2012 05:46AM - edited Nov 15, 2017 12:07PM by moderators

nancyjac wrote:

I found a couple of older threads about Arimidex, but they covered a large time span with a gazillion posts, so I thought I would start a new thread for Arimidex/Anastrozole users.

I am starting on Anastrozole today. Plan is to take it for 5 years, possibly longer. I already have osteopenia and osteoarthritis (limited to one knee at this point), so I am most concerned about the bone and joint side effects. I'm already frustrated by finally having some energy and stamina back after chemo and radiation, but now I have trouble exercising due to the bum knee. I'm concerned about that getting to be even more of a problem on the Anastrozole.

Please share you experiences, side effects, questions etc. about Armidex/Anastrozole here.

Edited by Mods to add content from the main Breastcancer.org site on Arimidex: Benefits, Side Effects and More

Dx 11/2011, IBC, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Targeted Therapy 12/6/2011 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 12/6/2011 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 4/9/2012 Mastectomy: Left, Right Surgery 4/16/2012 Mastectomy: Left Surgery 4/18/2012 Mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 5/28/2012 Breast, Lymph nodes, Bone Hormonal Therapy 7/9/2012 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Jul 18, 2012 03:30PM SusannahW wrote:

Msbelle I feel your pain and worry. Wishing u good look, and no SEs.
Susannah


Dx 3/2012, IDC, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Surgery 4/26/2012 Lumpectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 6/3/2012 Breast Hormonal Therapy 8/31/2012 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy 10/8/2012 Aromasin (exemestane)
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Jul 18, 2012 03:38PM blessings2011 wrote:

Hi, Mini1 - believe me, I understand that whether it's losing weight, or gaining weight, it can be a tough personal challenge. I remember YEARS ago, I ran into a friend I hadn't seen for a while, and the first thing out of my mouth was "Oh, you're so thin!"

Of course, later on, when my brain kicked in, I realized that was just as insensitive as if she had said to me "Oh, you're so fat!"

So I called her and apologized and we chatted, and fortunately, she wasn't ill, just under a lot of stress, and was having trouble putting the weight back on.

And you're right...it's not a given that any of us will get any particular side effect from the AIs. I think it's just my personality that when I see a thread with around 5,000 posts from women who have had side effects, I think, yep - that will be me!!!

The women who don't have SEs, or have very minimal ones, are not usually the ones who post on these threads. I'm so happy to see some here!!!! Gotta stay positive! Laughing

Dx 9/15/2011, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 12/4/2011 Lymph node removal; Lymph node removal (Left); Mastectomy; Mastectomy (Left); Mastectomy (Right); Reconstruction (Left): Tissue Expander; Reconstruction (Right): Tissue Expander Surgery 8/21/2012 Reconstruction (Left); Reconstruction (Right) Hormonal Therapy 9/4/2012 Arimidex (anastrozole) Hormonal Therapy 10/21/2013 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy 10/1/2021 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Dx IDC: Papillary, Left, <1, Stage IA, Grade 1, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 18, 2012 04:00PM Starak wrote:

I perhaps take a different view to the AI's as I had been post-menopausal for something like 8 years before BC and was one of the "lucky" ones that my normal aging menopause was already in overdrive with no end in sight.  My "normal" menopause symptoms that I had suffered with for a decade seem pretty much as severe as those experienced by those forced into menopause by BC treatment.  I was already a ticking timebomb so my doctors pretty much said suck it up or incur high risk if I wanted to try hormone treatment.  I sucked it up.  They had no idea why most women do not have this big a problem and why some get alot better in a few years and others don't or even if it would ever end.  All that said, I already had all of the litany of symptoms BEFORE AI's.  I looked at the benefits to risks for my specific case and decided against chemo. My MO said fine but make the AI's work. Didn't care which one but make it work!!!  I am VERY high ER+/PR+.  I am making it work.  So that is the premise I am operating under.  However, have not seen anything so far that I cannot live with or that really is any worse than what I was already living with.  In fact in two years of AI's, my hot flashes have actually improved alot.  Not gone but so much better than before.  The AI's seem to have sort of spit me out the other end for that one.

Looking from my personal menopause experience and then reading on menopause in general, much of what we complain about are "normal" side effects of menopause which whether as a normal part of aging or drop-kicked into it by chemo-pause, is all somewhat to be expected from a lack of estrogen.  Hot flashes, night sweats, dry skin, thin hair on head, a few extra on the face, osteopenia/osteoporosis, difficulty sleeping..... all normal to one degree or another.

I remember a doctor saying to me about some symptom probably 15 years ago "Welcome to middle age."   I guess I almost see this all similarly as in "Welcome to menopause."  If you want to strangle me I understand as my "normal" menopause was so outrageously severe and every one of my doctors responded with a blank look, no explanations, no solutions, and not even whether it would ever end.  Just suck it up or die.  My single best solution was to invest in a hideous number of fans.  No matter where I might plop my little body in my home or at work, there is a fan within arm's reach. 

In case the point was lost up above, I am really no worse off now on the AI's than I was already with normal aging menopause and lupus.  I have lost approx 50 lb post BC, eat far more healthy and try my hardest to get moderate exercise - alot of walking.  All seems to help.

Barbara

Freed 'em when they tried to kill me. BMX, no recon, center dog ears removed, currently living flat but still tending an extensive foob and mx bra experimental farm in the back of the closet.
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Jul 18, 2012 04:47PM Mini1 wrote:

Blessings - I worry too. I have been going back and forth with whether to stay on my AI. I have osteoporosis and I worry about my bones, but I had such horrid SE's with Anastrazole that I don't want to change to Tamoxafin due to possibly incurring those same side effects and possiby some new ones. Also, for me, the AI has a considerable better chance of preventing recurrence. I will stay on it for a year and try to stave off further bone deterioration with diet, supplements and exercise, but if it doesn't work, I'll have to change. :-(

I had every side effect there was on Anastrazole. I told my doctor I would take nothing at all before I would take another pill. It was horrid. Sometimes it feels like the cure is worse than the disease. But with my new one I have hardly any SE's, so I will count my blessings until the next bone density test. No pun intended. :-) 

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11 Surgery 4/15/2012 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Dx IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 19, 2012 12:21AM nancyjac wrote:

Don't get me wrong....I can stand to lose a few pounds and I intend to....but for me that is not why I am so happy to be able to exercise regularly again.  It is how it makes me feel and how much it help just about every other aspect of my life.  I just feel so much better when I am able to exercize and be active. And it doesn't have to be all that vigorous or lenthly to have those effects.  Even just walking 20-30 minutes at a moderate pace on a daily basis keeps me pain free and happy.  If I lose a couple of pounds along the way because of it, that's just an added bonus.

Dx 11/2011, IBC, Stage IIIB, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Targeted Therapy 12/6/2011 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 12/6/2011 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 4/9/2012 Mastectomy: Left, Right Surgery 4/16/2012 Mastectomy: Left Surgery 4/18/2012 Mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 5/28/2012 Breast, Lymph nodes, Bone Hormonal Therapy 7/9/2012 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Jul 19, 2012 08:05AM - edited Jul 19, 2012 08:17AM by vacationbound

So basically what your saying is my Oncologist, Breast Surgeon and Gyno/Onco put me through a needless Hysterectomy and Oopherectomy operation? Wow! So many others just like me have had needless operations too according to what your MO say's? Insurance co's are approving such needed operations also? I beg to differ.....

 Researcher Mina Bissell pursued a revolutionary idea -- that a cancer cell doesn't automatically become a tumor, but rather, depends its microenvironment for cues on how to develop.

www.ted.com/talks/mina_bissell... standing_of_cancer.html 

 Sorry, can't get link to work, please google " Ted talks + Mina Bissell + Understanding" and it will pop up

8/8/2011 IDC, 5 cm, Stage 3C, ER+PR+Her- grade 2, 11/19 Pos nodes; 1 Adriamycin-allergic,no more chemo; 32 Rad's; Tamo&Lupron failed, Hyster May 2012, Arimidex june-aug,Sept 2012, small mets L1/L4,May 2013 5mm tumor on left lobe of liver Dx 8/8/2011, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIIC, Grade 2, 11/19 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 19, 2012 08:55AM claire_in_seattle wrote:

Getting back to the original topic......I am half way through the five years with minimal side effects.  Like Ruth and Caryn, I am an exerciser.  I do endurance events to keep myself honest.  Right now, a bit worse for wear after doing my sixth Seattle-to-Portland Bicycle Classic in six years last weekend! 

Having said that, it's not my joints I feel at the moment.  Something about sitting on a bicycle seat for 200+ miles.

I also do a lot of walking, x-country skiing, and hiking when I get a chance.  I swim if it gets hot here.  But so far, no days hotter than high 70s.  Upper body work is also critical, and I do weights and crunches every weekday.  Boring, but fast and effective.

I could stand to lose about 12 pounds, but nothing urgent.  Have been focusing on my career this year as finally back on track.  Brain works just fine.....another benefit of exercise.

Exercise is so important that a number of studies are being conducted right now comparing those who exercise while taking anastrazole to those who don't.  This is to get hard data on what is currently anecdotal evidence.  (Dr Melinda Irwin at Yale)

As for when I take the anastrazole.....in the AM, as want to get things like that over with and on with my day.  I take my aspirin before bed.  Simple routine.  Weights and crunches in the sweats I sleep in prior to my shower.  Again simple.  Walk later in the day.  Cycling on the weekends (something easy the weekend coming up) and sometimes during the week.  Was just reminded that I want to add a hike on Mt Rainier to my list of things to do this summer.  Perhaps Labor Day weekend.

I don't think that the need to exercise has anything particular to do with taking anastrazole.  At a certain point in life, you have to do it to keep your body strong and fit.  Also to protect your heart and keep your brain in gear.  The ability to tolerate anastrazole better is just another benefit.

Plus be able to get out there and enjoy all the wonderful things our post treatment life has to offer. - Claire

Completed all treatment (AC +T, lumpectomy, radiation and 5 years of AIs - anastrazole). Now celebrating every single day for the wonderful life I have been granted. Dx 8/2009, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/21 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Jul 19, 2012 09:28AM nkb wrote:

What criteria are used to decide if you are rxed arimidex vs femara vs tamoxifen?
I have not started any hormonal treatment since I am still on chemo, but my oncologist mentioned arimidex in my future when I first met him. I am post meno.
Thaanks

Dx 12/2011, ILC, Both breasts, 6cm+, Stage IIIC, Grade 2, 34/40 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/3/2012 Lymph node removal; Lymph node removal (Left): Underarm/Axillary; Lymph node removal (Right): Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy; Mastectomy (Left); Mastectomy (Right) Chemotherapy 2/27/2012 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 9/10/2012 Hormonal Therapy 10/21/2012 Arimidex (anastrozole) Dx 5/2017, ILC, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, ER+/PR-, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 5/31/2017 Faslodex (fulvestrant) Targeted Therapy 5/31/2017 Ibrance (palbociclib) Targeted Therapy 3/12/2019 Afinitor (everolimus) Hormonal Therapy 3/12/2019 Aromasin (exemestane) Chemotherapy 3/9/2020 Xeloda (capecitabine) Targeted Therapy 9/13/2022 Enhertu (fam-trastuzumab deruxtecan-nxki)
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Jul 19, 2012 09:59AM - edited Jul 19, 2012 10:02AM by vacationbound

Nkb-

Arimidex and Femera are Ai's (Aromatase Inhibitors) and is used primarily for post menopausal women and Tamoxifen is an SERM- chemically, they are two different drugs-Tamoxifen is blocking the predominant source of Estrogen from the Ovary's while the Arimidex is inhibiting manufacturer through the adrenal glands and other areas of the body. Tamoxifen is for pre-menopausal women but more Oncologists are using it for post-meno as well. 

Here is a link explaining it in full detail 

www.webmd.com/breast-cancer/ta... 

OK-sorry again, my link will not post- google "webmd + breast cancer + Tamoxifen" and it will pop up 

8/8/2011 IDC, 5 cm, Stage 3C, ER+PR+Her- grade 2, 11/19 Pos nodes; 1 Adriamycin-allergic,no more chemo; 32 Rad's; Tamo&Lupron failed, Hyster May 2012, Arimidex june-aug,Sept 2012, small mets L1/L4,May 2013 5mm tumor on left lobe of liver Dx 8/8/2011, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIIC, Grade 2, 11/19 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 19, 2012 10:37AM etherize wrote:

Claire, your post is inspirational!  I am a turtle compared to you, but hoping to increase my exercise bit by bit.  My brother did the Seattle to Portland bike ride last weekend, too.  Another inspiration. :)

Dx 8/17/2011, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/14/2011 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel Surgery 10/17/2011 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary Chemotherapy 12/19/2011 CMF Radiation Therapy 5/7/2012 Hormonal Therapy 6/19/2012 Femara (letrozole)

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