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Comment from: Cissy, 55-64 on Treatment for less than 1 month (Patient) Published: January 19

I had stage 2 breast cancer and had a partial mastectomy in Aug. 2010. Went through chemotherapy and radiation therapy until Feb. 2011 and has been on Femara since then. In the first 6 months, the side effects were bearable. Then I began to feel depressed. My family doctor prescribed me with "Sertima" which helped a lot. Then the bone pain got worse, insomia, frizzy mind and bad memory. I tried to exercise but could not last and I lost interest in doing many things because I couldn't focus. I began to gain weight. My knees, neck and shoulders pain got worse especially in the morning when I got up. I went to Thailand for vacation with my family last month and found that I had just about the same energy as my 85 years old dad who is 30 years older than me. I took 1,200mg calcium with D3 and Gluocosamie with no improvement. I was desperate and wondered how I could continue the pill for another 4 years. Then a friend who is also a breast cancer survivor told me to try taking "Magnesium". She said calcium has stiffen our blood artery and joints while magnesium can help to soften it. It should be taken in 2:1 ratio with Calcium. I tried to take two 250mg magnesium. In just one day, I felt the knees and shoulder pain lessen by 40%. I checked out "magnesium" on WebMD and found that it can help with insomnia, constipation, leg cramps, headache...etc. Now I have more energy, less bone pain and sleep better. My doctor said as long as it helps me, it doesn't hurt to take it. I hope this information can help others. I went for my annual examination last week and I am cleared of cancer.

Related Reading: breast cancer | femara | insomnia

Comment from: SS, 65-74 on Treatment for 1-2 years (Patient) Published: May 12

I had stage 1 breast cancer, lumpectomy and six weeks of radiation in 2011. I started taking Femara after radiation. After six months, the joint pain was hell, shooting pains in my feet at night (both tops and bottoms of feet) Inability to sleep because of the shooting pains in feet. Depression, dry mouth. After sitting at work, pain in feet when getting up to walk. Oncologist suggested trying Arimidex. After one month, it was worse than Femara. Dizziness, headache and still severe joint pain and inability to sleep. I think I am going to discontinue all of these types of drugs and take my chances. My quality of life is terrible with this drug. Even excercising does not help enough. Cancer is hell but so is this drug. I don't think I can do it for five years. And I do not want to take more drugs to counteract the side effects of another. I am 68 and never had any health problems until I was diagnosed with cancer.

Related Reading: depression | dry mouth | arimidex

Comment from: oils, 55-64 on Treatment for 2-5 years (Patient) Published: February 08

I was diagnosised with breast cancer in the spring of 2009 at the age of 54. I first had the small tumor removed and within two months decided to have a lateral mascectomy. I chose not to have radiation Six months after my second surgery I started the chemo and have been on Femara since. I found that if I take it before bed, my symptoms are less noticable. If I take it earlier, I am so sore and achy that I can hardly move. I also take a powdered vitamin which seems to help. I try to work out on a treadmill or exercise bike daily. I have spent time hiking and mountain climbing. The more active I am the better I feel. I will not let the side effects of this medication rule my life, I will find whatever it takes to beat it.

Comment from: Happy, 55-64 on Treatment for 1-2 years (Patient) Published: October 04

So far after lumpectomy and no lymph node involvement I have taken had only radiation and been on Femara for almost two years and have had few side effects that I can't live with. I feel great on a general basis and live a full and happy life despite vaginal dryness, brain fuzziness, slight joint pain and daily thoughts of having cancer. Opted for the genetic testing at MD Anderson and fell directly in the midline so made the choice to gamble and am so far winning. I truly believe positive thinking and carrying on with doing those things you truly enjoy(I've not given up anything I previously enjoyed) have a great impact on survival. God is in charge here, and with a supportive loving husband who tries his best to make me happy I'm willing to gamble on being around until it's my time. I'd rather live a fulfilling life now than grow old and depend on my son to be my caregiver as I have experienced with both my deceased parents. Every day is a new one in which to enjoy and spend living and loving those things and people you truly enjoy--so be it if I'm not around to wither away and lose my faculties! Life is too precious to worry about what could happen....enjoy what it is and love your family, friends, and pets(my dog is my joy)--who, by the way, definitely makes life much more fulfilling and enjoyable as well as giving me great pleasure. My Dad always told me "you gotta have someone to love, something to do, and something to look forward to" to be truly happy. He was right. Find those things and it makes you and those around you much easier to live with. If I pass tomorrow I will have truly lived a life full of smelling the roses and having a drink or two when I wish. And I will be ready to go with no regrets.

Related Reading: vaginal dryness

Comment from: Cat, 55-64 on Treatment for 2-5 years (Patient) Published: March 24

I have arthritis, bone pain, joint pain,hot flashes, night sweats, can't sleep,blurred vision, inflamed eyes, never feel good, always tried, I worry I will end up in wheel chair, This has be be one of the worst drugs I've ever taken, to stop cancer they kill the rest of you, what kind of life do I really have? And still this cancer can come still come back, what the Hell, maybe better off taking my chances without this drug. My menory is going and what else do we have?

Related Reading: arthritis | night sweats

Comment from: lipawa, 55-64 on Treatment for 1-2 years (Patient) Published: March 11

Coming into my 2nd year taking this very expensive drug, I now pay $347.00 a month. I have joint pain, muscle pain, lack of libido, vaginal dryness, very tired, hands hurt and feel numb sometimes, memory a little off....I wonder what else is going wrong on the inside. Just had my 6 month breast check...good. I play tennis 3 times a week to get the endorphins to my brain. After several years of insomnia I've discovered wearing a mask to shut out all light, helps keep me a sleep. I use a vaginal moisturizer to relieve the dryness and fake it with my husband to get myself into the mood...most of the time it works. My husband has been wonderful and has stood by me....sometimes a very grumpy girl!!! He deserves whatever it takes from me to make him happy. Hot baths help the joint and limb pain. Oh, also lavender soaks help with sleep. I really can't get over how great that mask helps with sleep... my college daughter turned me on to it...I think they're very popular at the dorms!!! I would love to be brave and go off the be without pain would be every once in a while when I just can't take it any more....I take a pain killer...get my senses back...and move on. If taking the drug will help our sisters down the road...we need to think of them....when we just don't feel like we can do it any longer....just think of the women before us...hell, 20 years ago..they wouldn't have been able to complain...they, would have had to say goodbye to their husbands. Good luck to us all.

Related Reading: vaginal dryness | insomnia | lavender

Comment from: youngslyone, 35-44 on Treatment for 2-5 years (Patient) Published: January 30

I have taken this drug for 3 years. I have lost 20 pounds in the past 6 months and I am still the young 44 year old that I should be. I have hot flashes, some insomnia and get muscle cramps in my lower legs and feet, but they are not major problems. As for sleep, I just wear myself out (working or shopping) and then I can get a good nights sleep.

Related Reading: hot flashes | muscle cramps

Comment from: 65-74 on Treatment for 6 months - 1 year (Patient) Published: November 22

Absolutely no side effects for the first 2-3 months which delighted me as I had read about horrible side effects. Then--suddenly I was having bone pain in legs (felt like someone took a 2x4 and whacked me across the leg bones)--joint pain in shoulders, knees, ankles, feet, and fingers. Also--hair thinning badly--and gained 15 pounds in about 2 months. Cholesterol has remained ok--too early to tell about bone loss. While I am 65 years old, I move like my Mom did when she was in her 80s--difficult to stand up after sitting for more than 20 minutes--and it takes forever to get everything moving once I do get up. Insomnia is my constant companion these days--along with depression. HOWEVER--I had my 6 month checkup and was cancer-free. Guess it's kind of a crap shoot--don't take it and take a chance on cancer returning--or take it and put up with the side effects. Good luck to all of us who struggle with this.

Related Reading: cholesterol | insomnia | depression

Comment from: 55-64 on Treatment for 1-6 months (Patient) Published: August 30

I can't really judge its effectivness since after two months of it I had to discontinue it. The side effects were horrible! My mind was fuzzy and I was exhausted from lack of sleep. Between the night sweats and waking up every 1-2 hours with severe hip pain what sleep I got was fitful at best. I immediately gained weight had joint and muscle pain that nothing could ease. Hot and cold flashes were plaguing me day and night as if my internal thermostat was bad. The list of side effects is quite long so I will give you the abridged version. To name a few: breast pain, headache, backache, blurry vision, shortness of breath, nausea, stomach pains, etc. The final straw was when I got up from bed, about two steps toward the bathroom, I went blind. It was like someone flipped a switch! There was no lightheadedness, just no vision! After a few seconds and lots of blinking my vision returned. My MD says that the Femara probably caused my blood pressure to fall very low while I was asleep, causing the blindness. If it dropped that low, I would think I am lucky not to have had a heart attack or stroke. I give up. I now intend to try through diet and exercise to keep the cancer at bay. Make sure you are monitored very closely when taking this medication!!! I can't stress that enough. Arimadex was just as awful for me and I had to quit that one, too. I have been on these drugs since around April of this year, but no more!!!!

Related Reading: night sweats | hip pain | headache

Comment from: Sylvia , 65-74 on Treatment for 5-10 years (Patient) Published: October 06

I just finished 5 years of femara treatment. Diagnosed with stage one, received lumpectomy and brachi radiation. Am currently cancer free. Big hugs to all my sisters out there wrestling with side effect vs quality of life choices. I can tell you it wasn't easy at the beginning because of the side effects, but they did lessen for me over the years. Of course now it all seems worth it. Remain patient, and be comfortable with the decisions you make. Gos bless.

Related Reading: femara | cancer

Comment from: Glow, 65-74 on Treatment for 1-6 months (Patient) Published: January 05

I have been taking Femara for 4 months and it has put me through Hell. I had HER2 receptive breast cancer, lumpectomy, chemo, radiation and Herceptin treatments. Now on Femara which is worse than all the surgery and treatments following surgery. I can't sleep at night, have severe pains in the joints of my legs and back, have neck pain and an overall feeling of discomfort. never wake up in the morning feeling refreshed or invigorated. I feel like a 100 year old woman, or let me correct, the 100 year old woman probably feels better than I do. I am also experiencing hair loss. Wasn't six months of being bald enough. I swore I would never wear my wig again but who's to say! When my hair grew back is was thick and curley - I have always had straight hair. I thought it was wonderful until it started to fall out. I called Novartis to tell them about my symptoms and they had no advice regarding Femara. What I don't know is what to do next. Stop taking Femara or continue and be miserable for the next five years. I am 67, active, working and just don't know what's in store for me. Hope you are all doing better than I am. Good luck and God bless to all of you.

Related Reading: femara | breast cancer | herceptin

Comment from: linohio, 55-64 on Treatment for 6 months - 1 year (Patient) Published: October 10

After unilateral mastectomy, no radiation, no chemo, I am on Femara and calcium & vitamin D. When I stand up after sitting awhile, my right hip and both feet-especially the bottoms of my feet--hurt; also don't sleep well, decreased libido, but all of this is tolerable for a 27% decreased chance of BC recurrence! I recently changed to taking Femara in the evening, that seems to be helping with the joint pain. Now that it is generic, I'm paying $20 for a 90-day supply. Ladies with negative experiences are probably more likely to comment, so I just wanted to say the really bad side effects don't happen to everybody.

Related Reading: vitamin d

Comment from: Patricia, 65-74 on Treatment for 5-10 years (Patient) Published: February 11

Have been on Femara for 5 years No other drugs previously, just radiation following a lumpectomy. Have joint pain but still in remission. Started hair loss when I first began Femara. Hair became very brittle and broke off and/or fell out. Thought I too would be bald. Solution for me was to switch shampoos and conditioners. Went to the very creamy (almost greasy) formulas and it solved my hair problems. My hair is in great shape now. Possible that the Femara was more of a drying agent for my hair. People might want to try switching to the thick, creamy shampoos and conditioners and see what happens. I have a rather wide selection of products that I rotate thru. Keeps the "build up" down to a roar. This worked for me and hopefully will for others

Related Reading: hair loss

Comment from: Linda, 65-74 on Treatment for 2-5 years (Patient) Published: May 06

I was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer in spring of '06 and began taking femara in the fall of that year. I have experienced the joint/bone/muscle pain the other posts refer to; however, my review will be mostly positive. I deal with the joint pain by taking OsteoBiflex twice a day and exercising with walking/swimming/weights and it helps a great deal. I also take aroniaberries which can be found at and they are wonderful. You should read the testimonials from this outstanding fruit. I am also dealing with having to pay over $300 a month for this drug having entered that "gap" where no assistance is available. My checkups have been wonderful. I feel great. Meditation helps me too. I just keep going!

Related Reading: femara

Comment from: Coryell, 55-64 on Treatment for 1-2 years (Patient) Published: January 30

Bone loss, elevated cholesterol, joint pain and lower back pain, fatigue, insomnia, night sweats and weight gain. Mobility that of someone much older. One year and it is working so far. Quality of life definitely affected, however.

Related Reading: cholesterol | lower back pain | fatigue

Comment from: gigi, 65-74 on Treatment for 2-5 years (Patient) Published: May 04

I rated Femara effective simply because thus far I have had no signs of return of my breast cancer for three years now. Whether the reason for that has been because of Femara, I will never know. Femera is, beyond any doubt, the worst medication I have EVER taken. Much worse than Chemo or radiation. Only recently, much to my embarassment (but great relief), have I realized all my agonizing pains (muscles, joints), my exeedingly extreme dehydration (dry mouth, chapped lips, terribly painful splits in my tongue), numb legs, and frightening, never ending exhaustion upon physical activity, have been caused by that small yellow pill, Femera. All my suffering has resulted in deep depression, having not only severely effected the quality of my life, but also that of my concerned famiy. Now that I know why I've suffered so, deep in my heart, I want to discontinue Femera, so I can become normal again, but am afraid to because of the possible results. Now that I'm aware of why I have suffered so, I intend to plan for what will be difficult days ahead, but will try to manage my activities and pain with my new knowledge and new attitude. I'm grateful to finally understand why my body is in this crumpled condition, but live for the day when I will not have to take it anymore.

Related Reading: dehydration | dry mouth | depression

Comment from: Naomi, 55-64 on Treatment for 1-6 months (Patient) Published: October 23

I have been on this medication for 1 month, and have had no side effects that are noticeable to me. I take it before I go to bed at night. I can't rate the effectiveness because only time will tell if it keeps my breast cancer from recurring. I had read several horrible reviews of this med., and had myself terrified of taking this, but I have been pleasantly surprised that I have had no reaction that is obvious to me.

Related Reading: breast cancer

Comment from: 55-64 on Treatment for 2-5 years (Patient) Published: August 18

diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer at age of 47. lumpectomy and all lymph nodes on right side removed. 8 months of chemo, 6 weeks of radiation. 5 years on tomoxifen and now 3 years on femara. side effects are minimal, occasional trouble sleeping and some fatigue, nothing life altering. 8 years cancer free, so I would say results are good.

Related Reading: femara | fatigue | cancer

Comment from: Kay, 55-64 on Treatment for 1-6 months (Patient) Published: January 10

After 3 months on Femara, I started having joint pain in the knees, feet, and fingers. Also fatigue and muscle weakness. Feel like I have aged 10 years.

Related Reading: femara

Comment from: Whoknew, 55-64 on Treatment for 1-6 months (Patient) Published: March 31

I have experienced severe bone and muscle pain to the point that I find it difficult to walk up and down stairs. Vaginal dryness and itching, some discharge, hands hurt and feel numb sometimes. I am 57 years old and feel like a hundred. I normally work-out, treadmill and weight training. I do feel better when I work out and take a few NSAIDs but I don't want to take those everyday for the next 5 years. I was on Arimidex first and that cause bone pain too but I think Femara has been worse. Both cause hot flashes which I can live with. Doctor put me on Tamoxifen today to see how it works. If things don't get better, I think I am going to go off mediation and take my chances. My quality of life is just as important as quantity. I feel like such an old woman. Good luck ladies

Related Reading: vaginal dryness | nsaids | arimidex

Comment from: etcinchicago, 55-64 on Treatment for 1-6 months (Patient) Published: November 02

I started taking this Femara after a round of radiation and lumpectomy. After one week I felt depressed and fatigued. The doctor had me go off of it for a month and within two weeks I felt great. We eased into a half dose over one month, which created some fatigue, but it was manageable. After one month, I went on a full dose and within 10 days am back to being very depressed, negative and fatigued. At this point, I'm considering in going off it. I can't function effectively and I'm not able to actually do all the healthy activities that would benefit my health. I'm also experiencing some shortness of breath.

Comment from: Lee, 55-64 on Treatment for 6 months - 1 year (Patient) Published: November 12

I had stage I breast cancer. Had a lumpectomy. Completed 4 chemo sessions and 6 weeks of radiation. Started femara after chemo. Felt fine for a few months then developed blood clots in leg and 6 cent. clot in breast. I now have terrible leg and feet pain, can't sleep have to take warfarin for clots. Some vision problems. I am starting to think this is all caused by femara. Since dr.s feel like they removed all the cancer (none in lymph nodes). Do I really need to take femara. Seems like overkill.

Related Reading: blood clots | warfarin

Comment from: 45-54 on Treatment for 1-2 years (Patient) Published: September 18

Aches, pains, minor arthritis type symptoms.

Related Reading: arthritis

Comment from: Happy, 55-64 on Treatment for 2-5 years (Patient) Published: February 21

November 2008 diagnosed with Stage 2B breast cancer. Hormone receptor positive and HERS 2 positive. Opted for lumpectomy instead of mastectomy. Received chemo, radiation and Herceptin therapy. First 2.5 years was taking Tamoxifen then switched to Letrozole (Femara). Last visit to oncologist stated I am cancer free and will be able to stop medication in May 2014. Side effects have been joint and muscle pain with fatigue. Have been working out 1.5 hrs. 3x per week. This has helped with most of side effects. I take the medication at night and believe this has helped also. I am determined to finish the 5 years and look forward to not taking this medication. Has not been easy but do not want a reoccurrence of breast cancer. Going through the breast cancer treatments were worse than the side effects of Tamoxifen and Letrozole.

Related Reading: herceptin | tamoxifen | letrozole

Comment from: lw, 55-64 on Treatment for 1-2 years (Patient) Published: January 23

I have been taking Femara for almost 1-1/2 yrs....the hot flashes and night sweats have deceased significantly for me. Joint pain is worse than in the beginning. Still get tired but it is better than the first year. Fell older than I am...56

Related Reading: femara | hot flashes | night sweats

Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

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