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Long term use of Arimidex
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Long term use of Arimidex

After a mastectomy and chemo for stage 2 breast cancer almost six years ago, I was put on Arimidex, and have now been on it five years. Two years ago I had a metastatic tumor in the brain. The tumor was removed by surgery, and I then had radiation. At the moment there is no sign of recurrence.

I have some symptoms from the arimidex, including arthritic pain, but I can live with them. Do the doctors feel I should continue on Arimidex although the five year period is up? My own oncologist has given me the choice of continuing with it or stopping it altogether.

Thank you very much for your advice.

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Avatar_n_tn
Hi.
It’s good to know that you are responding well to your treatment.
Aromatase inhibitors like Arimidex can cause joint pains and arthritis.  Those are included in the side effects profile of the drug.  But these are manageable with use of supportive measures.
Data on the use of Arimidex showed benefits when given for 5 years.  Beyond 5 years, there is not much data to support the use of this drug.  Perhaps the data available are still not that mature to arrive at a conclusion.
You may discontinue taking Arimidex after 5 years.  You should, however, continue regular surveillance check-ups with your doctor.
Good luck and God bless you always.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks very much for taking the time to respond to me, Doctor. I really appreciate it. With regard to surveillance, I have checkups, bloodwork including a CEA, and a brain MRI every three months.

Mizelmouse
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi.
Thanks for the update.
Regular surveillance check-ups are needed in order to detect possible recurrence (either local recurrence or distant recurrence) of the cancer.  Aside from physician visits for complete history and physical examination, there is a need to do monthly self breast examination and semi annual or annual mammography.  Ancillary procedures like an MRI can be done on a case to case basis, especially when following-up a suspicious lesion.  
Please do post any updates.
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