Your doctor has recommended a medication called Aromasin (exemestane) as treatment for your breast cancer. This page provides extra information about your medicine, summarises possible side effects and methods to alleviate them.
If you forget to take your tablet dont panic levels of the drug in your blood will not change very much but try not to miss more than one or two tablets in a row. Remember to get a new prescription a couple of weeks before you run out of the tablets and make sure you have plenty for holidays etc.
What are they taken for? There are 6 main reasons why post menopausal women with oestrogen sensitive tumours can be prescribed aromatase inhibitors
Possible side effects
Mild feelings of sickness (nausea), are not uncommon but may be relieved by taking your tablet with foods or milk or at night. Mild nausea usually wears off after a few weeks but a walk or jog in the fresh air does wonders for this.
and sweats Sometimes the flushes will gradually lessen over the first few months
but some women continue to have them for as long as they take Arimidex. There are a number
of ways to help reduce or control hot flushes and sweats. Some women find it helpful to
avoid or cut down on tea, coffee, nicotine and alcohol. Evening primrose oil has been
reported to be helpful in reducing sweats but it does not work for all women and it is
very expensive. There are a lot of calories in Evening Primrose Oil so it may be fattening
in some women. Some women have found complementary therapies have helped, and your GP may
be able to give you details about obtaining these on the NHS.
Lethargy - Some women feel tired on this drug. The severity can vary but if it affects your quality of life the doctor should be informed, although lethargy does tend to wear off over time. Light and stimulating exercise can help to reduce this. This has to carefully balanced. Although plenty of rest is important, between these times it is better to be active. For example a sleep after lunch may be required but then it would be useful to put on a pair of training shoes and go for walk in the open - preferably in pleasant stimulating surroundings such as a park or riverbank. Although this seems a great effort at first, patients often find their overall levels of fatigue are reduced by light exercise.
Thrombosis These therapies slightly increase the risk of thrombosis (although not as bad as tamoxifen) - particularly if there is any disease in the pelvis or lower abdomen. Regular exercise encourage the blood to be pumped through the veins and reduce the risk of it stagnating and clotting in the veins.
Loss of bone density Compared to tamoxifen there is a slightly incidence of bone loss which may lead to an increased risk of fractures after prolonged use. In some instances it is appropriate to monitor the bone density with a scan (dexacan). Certainly it is advisable to exercise regularly and ensure an adequate diet (see lifestyle and aromatase inhibitors)
Patients may put on weight after taking aromatase inhibitor tablets. Clearly regular light exercise will reduce the risk of weight gain.
Depression and lower mood - a rare side effect - Exercise increases the bodies endomorphines which elevate mood.
Less common side effects
that may help the side effects
| About us | Contact
us | Site map | Advertise
with us | Disclaimer
Further information The book Lifestyle After Cancer summarises the lifestyle evidence from around the world and provides practical advice for all stages in the cancer journey. A detailed film explains Radiotherapy & Chemotherapy and shows real patients on treatment describing their experiences. Cancernet.co.uk is a comprehensive cancer information resource written by an experienced team of doctors, health professionals and patients. It contains links and information on: Specific cancers; Breast | Prostate | Bowel. Cancer treatments; Chemotherapy | Radiotherapy | Hormones | Biological agents | Complementary therapies | Lifestyle and cancer; Exercise | Diet | Smoking | Sunbathing | Alcohol |Tips to help with symptoms and side effects | Financial issues | Traveling issues | Travel insurance | Links to support groups | Books | Tests for cancer | Clinical trials | What is cancer | How to avoid cancer
Glossary | About us | Contact us | Site map | Advertise with us | Disclaimer