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Topic: How long for Femara to work?

Forum: Stage IV and Metastatic Breast Cancer ONLY —

A place for those managing the ups & downs of a Stage IV/metastatic breast cancer diagnosis. Please respect that this forum is for Stage IV members only. There is a separate forum For Family and Caregivers of People with a STAGE IV Diagnosis.

Posted on: May 27, 2010 03:14PM

raro wrote:

I am currently on Femara for about a month now, after failure of both Abraxane and Xeloda. I had been on tamoxifen for 4 years after my initial stage III diagnosis but stopped it when it came back. After doing the chemo and rads, the dr. said, "You know, just because tamox failed you doesn't mean you can't try another hormonal. Since chemo hasn't really worked, let's try Femara."

Okay, fine. But for the first time these past few weeks I have been feeling pain in the spine where the tumors are. Before, I hadn't felt anything. Well, I know they progressed from the scan in April, but it's kind of scary to actually feel it.

So my question is, could it just be that it takes time? I really hate that I could be feeling bad and the cancer could be improving, OR I could be feeling great and the cancer is progressing, there is no way to know. Sigh...How long does Femara take to "kick in"?!? Or is this a wash, already?

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May 27, 2010 06:21PM mari55 wrote:

I can only speak for myself.  I started Femara ( along with Zometa) in January after finding mets to spine and hip.  I think I really started to notice a difference ( meaning decreased pain, feeling stronger etc... in April). Interestingly my improvement coincided with some hair loss and  increased hot flashes.  My tumor markers went down by 100 which indicates something  is working.  I think the Zometa is helping more with the decreased pain in my back ( I have compression fractures in T8 and 9) and x-rays of my hip which fractured and required pinning in January, show increased calcium deposition.    I have PET scans Tuesday so I guess I will find out then if all of this is doing the trick.   I sure hope you are feeling better soon.

DCIS 1999, R mastectomy. Mets to spine, sternum,ribs,and femurs Jan. 2010 and new primary on left, DCIS, Dec. 2009. I am not afraid of dying, I am afraid of not living Dx 1/11/2010, Stage IV, mets, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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May 27, 2010 08:38PM Lynn1 wrote:

Femara worked GREAT for me when I first started taking it....I went into remission (but not NED) in about 3 months.  That must be the magic number for hormone treatment because that is how often we scan. When I asked him about my latest one, which I've been taking about a month, he said it was too early to tell.  Like you, I have been having pain in the areas where the mets are and I have not had this before. When I asked about that, he said any new treatment can cause a "flare", but said again that it's too early to make any conclusions on if it is working or not.  Hope this helps.

~Lynn ER+, HER2- Bone mets: sternum, pelvis, spine, ribs....it's everywhere. Started Afinitor/Femara 10/15/12
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May 27, 2010 09:54PM nancyh wrote:

I don't have a scientific answer to your question, but I'll share my experience.  Since starting Femara I've had more twinges and random aches/pains, but after getting scan results today I feel like those twinges are because the treatment is working not because of progression.  I've been on Femara for about 2 months.

Also, my 75-year-old mom, who is also stage 4 has been on Femara for about 10 months and she is in complete remission.  She's never felt better.

I think I'm becoming a Femara evangelist.  :-)

Stage 4 in 2009, mets to liver, lungs, bones, and brain. Dx 8/12/2002, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIB, 3/12 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 10/1/2002 AC Chemotherapy 1/1/2003 Taxol (paclitaxel) Hormonal Therapy 5/1/2003 Dx 4/2/2007, IDC, 1cm, Stage II, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 6/1/2007 CMF Dx 9/1/2009, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to brain/bone/liver/lungs, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Targeted Therapy 9/1/2009 Avastin (bevacizumab) Chemotherapy 9/1/2009 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Hormonal Therapy 6/1/2010 Femara (letrozole) Chemotherapy 9/1/2011 Xeloda (capecitabine) Hormonal Therapy 1/1/2012 Faslodex (fulvestrant) Chemotherapy 6/1/2012 Navelbine (vinorelbine) Chemotherapy 5/1/2013 Gemzar (gemcitabine) Hormonal Therapy 6/1/2013 Aromasin (exemestane) Targeted Therapy 8/1/2013 Afinitor (everolimus) Chemotherapy 10/28/2013 Halaven (eribulin) Chemotherapy 11/12/2014 Taxotere (docetaxel) Chemotherapy 10/1/2015 Adriamycin (doxorubicin) Targeted Therapy Ibrance (palbociclib)
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May 28, 2010 01:29AM Honeybear wrote:

I took Femara for almost 2 years and was doing pretty well.  I was better on the very first scan after starting it (3 months).  My doc says that's a pretty standard amount of time for the hormonals to start working.

As far as feeling pain in areas that you haven't felt before, I've had more pain sometimes when my scans are a little better.  My onc says that with bone mets, sometimes the mets are providing structural support and when they shrink, we have pain because new bone hasn't filled in that spot yet.  That kind of made sense to me.

I hope you feel good and that Femara kicks some cancer butt for you!

Peace and hugs,

Jennifer

Dx 8/16/2007, IDC, Stage IV, Grade 2, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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May 28, 2010 07:55AM raro wrote:

Thanks, guys, that really helps a lot. :-)

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May 28, 2010 08:10AM Lynn1 wrote:

Jennifer - thank you for sharing that about the bone mets! I had not heard that before, but it does make sense. 

~Lynn ER+, HER2- Bone mets: sternum, pelvis, spine, ribs....it's everywhere. Started Afinitor/Femara 10/15/12
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Jun 4, 2010 12:22PM tooyoungtohavebc wrote:

Hi raro,

I saw your post about pain meds so wanted to reply here. I also have mets to my bones in my back. Last year when I was on the super herceptin and zometa, I started having a lot of back pain and also had pain that ran from my lower spine down my leg...i self diagnosed as sciatica. At first I suspected it was the bone mets getting worse (as did my onc), but guess what...once I went off the chemo, the pain went away. So I told my doc that I think the drugs cause so much swelling that everything is pushing on each other in my back and causing pain and he agreed. So your pain might not be from the mets but from swelling due to the chemo etc. I took aleve for my pain and also got some hydrocodone which helped when things were real bad. Hope you are doing better:) nothing worse than frigging back pain!

Dx 6/2005, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IV, Grade 3, 1/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Oct 23, 2015 02:46PM - edited Oct 23, 2015 02:46PM by marijen

This Post was deleted by marijen.
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Oct 28, 2015 10:59PM artistatheart wrote:

I'll let you know after Nov 19th when I get my first scan in 3 months which is how long I have been on Femara/ibrance combo! Already feeling the scanxiety.....

Dx 7/22/2015, ILC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 8/10/2015 Femara (letrozole) Targeted Therapy 8/25/2015 Ibrance (palbociclib) Hormonal Therapy Faslodex (fulvestrant)
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Nov 3, 2015 10:37PM artistatheart wrote:

Thanks suersis, My scans have been bumped up to this Thursday due to increased liver enzymes. Hope it is just an SE from meds.....worried. Hope the catheter install went OK and is helping with the PF. Also hope the TM's went down!

Dx 7/22/2015, ILC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 8/10/2015 Femara (letrozole) Targeted Therapy 8/25/2015 Ibrance (palbociclib) Hormonal Therapy Faslodex (fulvestrant)
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Nov 10, 2015 08:08PM artistatheart wrote:

Drop in TM's is a good thing right? Mine seem to be a good indicator. Man, a nurse wielding scissors! Sometimes all it takes is one Medical person to do something dumb to turn you off of the whole industry! I am so glad you can get out and walk your pooch again. I am sure you would agree there is nothing like fresh air!

Dx 7/22/2015, ILC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 8/10/2015 Femara (letrozole) Targeted Therapy 8/25/2015 Ibrance (palbociclib) Hormonal Therapy Faslodex (fulvestrant)
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Nov 11, 2015 10:38PM artistatheart wrote:

That is inspiring suersis, 3 miles! I need to get my bootie moving! My dog is too big for me to walk anymore. Eighty pounds and not very leash trained.

Dx 7/22/2015, ILC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 8/10/2015 Femara (letrozole) Targeted Therapy 8/25/2015 Ibrance (palbociclib) Hormonal Therapy Faslodex (fulvestrant)
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Nov 12, 2015 05:35PM artistatheart wrote:

good idea suersis, although she is 8 now and pretty set in her ways! It is also freezing cold up here now which is not very inviting for a walk by the time I get off work at 5. But I am going to bundle up this Saturday and give her a spin.

Dx 7/22/2015, ILC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 8/10/2015 Femara (letrozole) Targeted Therapy 8/25/2015 Ibrance (palbociclib) Hormonal Therapy Faslodex (fulvestrant)
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Nov 12, 2015 11:27PM artistatheart wrote:

I long to move to a warmer climate like yours but need to stay with my job for the benefits. Living here for 31 years and hate to leave the community but some days long for winter bike riding and anonymity after Dx! My DH is the alpha to our dog. I may need him to assist in getting the dog to cooperate!

Dx 7/22/2015, ILC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 8/10/2015 Femara (letrozole) Targeted Therapy 8/25/2015 Ibrance (palbociclib) Hormonal Therapy Faslodex (fulvestrant)

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