• What happens when you finish 5 years Anastrozole

    Asked by Dimpledarling on Saturday, July 20, 2019

    What happens when you finish 5 years Anastrozole

    8 Answers from the Community

    8 answers
    • Viking's Avatar

      I have a different cancer diagnosis and a different situation, but my doctor told me I need 10 years of anastrozole. I have 2 years to go. It is making me hurt all over, arthritis type stiffness and pain in hips. I hope you didn’t have this kind of symptoms.

      6 months ago
    • cllinda's Avatar

      I'm on my sixth year. The doctor said that they now recommend ten years in it. They said it can keep breast cancer and other cancers away. So I'm taking it for four more years.

      6 months ago
    • mofields' Avatar

      You are put on it for 5 more years - as long as you have not had any real problems with it. I just began year 6.

      6 months ago
    • oceanblue24's Avatar

      I'm on it 7 yrs now. I requested to continue on it & my Onco said a new study showed it is to some people's advantage to stay on another 5 yrs.

      6 months ago
    • ChicagoSandy's Avatar

      Depends on how old you are, how "indolent" (non-aggressive) your cancer was at diagnosis, and what your BCI test scores say (INSIST on that test). At the end of my 5 years on an aromatase inhibitor, I'd be 3 weeks away from my 70th birthday. I already know that for my particular IDC, an AI conferred only a 1-2% 10-year recurrence-free survival benefit over surgery, radiation, and active surveillance. At 70, though I'd have an increasing awareness of mortality, that extra 1-2% would mean a helluva lot less to me than if I were 55 or even 60, and some of those AI side effects would be more life-altering and immediately life-threatening (cardiovascular, paradoxical hip fracture despite bone drugs, obesity due to impaired metabolism causing diabetes) than cancer recurrence down the road.

      What nobody seems able to tell us is what our recurrence-free survival chances would be measured not from the beginning of taking an AI but from the beginning of year 6 on it--simply because the notion of extending AI treatment is too recent to calculate new 5-yr, much less 10-yr survival graphs.

      So how old are you? For whose care are you and will you be responsible? What was your OncotypeDX at diagnosis? How many positive nodes did you have? What's your BCI score? What comorbidities--especially life-threatening ones like heart disease & stroke risk, osteoporosis and diabetes--do you have that continuing an AI would make worse?

      This is one decision that begs for a second opinion.

      6 months ago
    • smishik's Avatar

      I was only on it for 5 years. Then they took me off. I really would like to know the same answer. It feels like at anytime I could get cancer again and not know it because no one is doing any testing on me. Sometimes I am really scared about it and other times I feel like "whatever is, is".

      6 months ago
    • ChiSandy's Avatar

      We ER+ patients all have that same fear once all of our adjuvant treatment is done (and sometimes, even during endocrine therapy). The only testing we get are annual mammograms, breast exams, and the complete metabolic panels and (sometimes only our primaries do these) blood counts and lipid profiles ordered by our oncologists at our annual or semiannual visits. We all dread one day, after a persistent backache, headache, cough or intractable digestive pain, finding out via PET scan that we might have bone, brain, or liver mets. When that happens, we assume that routine scans and tumor markers would have caught that in time.

      But all those can do is detect mets that have already manifested, not prevent them from happening. Once they’re there, they’re there and there’s no turning back—only keeping them at bay for as long as possible (which can sometimes be a decade or even two).
      And the fact is that sometimes our original tumors “seeded” them (despite a clean sentinel node biopsy) before we even knew we had cancer; and that these cells lay dormant all that time. In the case of ER+, some cells even evolve the ability to make their own estrogen, thereby immune to the estrogen blockade of tamoxifen or estrogen deprivation by AIs.

      And those routine tests run from unreliable (in the case of tumor markers for those who don’t have spread) to somewhat risky if done frequently (PET scans deliver more radiation than do mammos, CTs or other—e.g., dental, orthopedic—X-rays). Too much radiation exposure is cumulative and can trigger blood “dyscrasias” (aplastic anemia, MDS, leukemia and myeloma) that are harder to treat, difficult to endure, and carry a prognosis grimmer than breast cancer mets. Those scans are best saved to confirm mets your oncologist suspects, not to go fishing in the absence of symptoms.

      6 months ago
    • petieagnor's Avatar

      I was on Arimidex for 5 years. I don't remember having any side effects. Doctors weren't reccommeding 10 years yet. I was getting an annual MRI. Exactly 10 years from BC dx my cardiologist ordered a CT after an ablation on my bad heart caused by the radiation. MBC was found in my right lung. I was in shock. I'm 3 years out & doing OK. No new spots & it is not growing.

      6 months ago

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