Femara & Weight Loss

Femara, also known as letrozole, is a drug used for treating breast cancer in postmenopausal women. This therapy has several side effects, and one of them is weight loss. Femara is a potent hormone drug and only your physician can assess if it can be of benefit to you and in what doses.

Femara is a potent drug for breast cancer patients. (Image: Zoonar/O.Kovach/Zoonar/Getty Images)

Femara Facts

Mayo Clinic experts report that Femara targets effectively hormone-sensitive breast cancer. This specific type of cancer relies on high estrogen levels to survive and thrive. In postmenopausal women, estrogen comes from converting androgens. Femara blocks this biochemical reaction and lowers significantly the amount of estrogen in the body. The target is to deprive the cancer cells of estrogen. Hormonal therapy usually follows after surgical removal of the tumors. Your doctor may recommend using hormone therapy prior to an operation in order to shrink a tumor. If cancer has already spread, hormone therapy for breast cancer may shrink and control it. Many women take hormone therapy for breast cancer for five years or more.

Side Effects

The manufacturing company, Novartis, states clearly in the official website of the drug, Femara.com, that there are several side effects accompanying the treatment. Weight loss is one of them, although it is relatively rare. However, the most serious side effects are bone mass loss and increases in cholesterol levels. Other common symptoms include fatigue, dizziness, vaginal irritation, nausea and joint pain.

Supportive Lifestyle and Diet

It is important to support yourself in an efficient way during your hormonal therapy. Although you may experience weight loss during your treatment with Femara, do not try to compensate with rich meals; the website Cancer.org recommends to keep your caloric intake relatively low. According to the same source, obesity is a known risk factor for breast cancer. Ideally, you will balance your caloric intake with mild physical exercise. Vegetables and fruit are good nutritional choices, and many of them contain antioxidants that may help you in your fight against cancer. Vitamin D deficiency is also a risk factor for breast cancer, so make sure you keep your daily intake within the optimum levels. You should also eliminate or seriously lower your alcohol consumption.

Conclusion

Femara is a powerful and in many cases effective treatment for breast cancer in postmenopausal women. This drug has several side effects; weight loss occurs in some cases. More serious side effects include bone weakening and increases of blood cholesterol. Although you may experience weight loss, you should keep your calories low so that you support your body in the fight against cancer in an efficient way. A healthy diet and lifestyle in general will also contribute.

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