Zoladex and letrozol

Hi I’ve been putting off going on this treatment I’m scared of side affects but know I have to go on it any advice please 

  • The sudden menopause from zoladex is quite intense (though I was also going through chemo so even worse) but it honestly gets better with time. I find it all pretty manageable now.

    You don't know how you'll react until you start taking them but if you get hot flushes, then fans, chillows. dressing in layers. not drinking too much alcohol etc all help.

    I have aches and pains from exemestane (like letrozole) but they wear off pretty quickly in the morning or after I've been sitting for too long.

    It was a little overwhelming at first, but things calmed relatively quickly to a very manageable level for me.

    To me, the alternative is far worse - I don't want the cancer coming back.

  • Hi thankyou so much for taking the time to reply.I’m booked in next week to start the treatment.sounds like your doing ok thanks so much made me feel better x

  • Can I ask how people have found the brain fog/concentration with these drugs. I am 39 and will be put into a chemical menopause. I know that in the first half of my cycle normally I feel less able to concentrate and actually have to put the more complex accounts at work to one side for the second half of it when I get the rising oestrogen or whatever makes you feel better. I am really panicking that I will now be like this all of the time, With permanent pmt and not able to do my job (which I love) as well. I am way too young to retire. 


  • Hey! I’m 4 years into zoledex! Okay so my joints and legs ache after a long day on my feet…I have tried all sorts! Heated plates, moving plates! But I find heat treatment of sorts the best! It is hard, but I would say just try and stay with it!I feel old…but just want to keep moving!

  • Thank you…have you had any mental side effects? Or is it ‘just’ the joint pain? X

  •  I used to get bad brain fog a few days before my period, but haven't found that on zoladex & exemestsane. I don't know if it helped that I worked through chemo, lumpectomy and radiotherapy (other than a few days off for each cycle and the op) so my brain has been ticking over this whole time.

    I would say my concentration levels aren't as good as they were - but who knows if that is the menopause or the fact I've been through a life-changing event and my life priorities have shifted? I also struggle to remember some things but that is usually in a work situation where there are lots of things happening all day. I just need to make sure I write things down or I'll forget to do them, and my brain used to be able to hold on to lots of thoughts at once and power through the day. Again, this may be down to the fact that although I want to do a good job at work, life is far more important to me and I have hobbies that keep me very occupied, brain and body, when I'm not working.

    Other mental effects were anxiety and flashes of anger. Again, maybe due to other cancer treatment as well as menopause - chemo is not pleasant! I am having acupuncture now and that has really calmed everything down for me. I was trying it for the hot flushes but I have found it has been far more helpful with bad anxiety and mood changes, which I didn't realise were that bad until they started to significantly change.

    I figured I'd be going though the menopause at some point anyway, so at least this way you definitely know what it is.

  • Thank you. I do think my life priorities will have shifted. I used to work a lot of unpaid hours at night from home and can’t really see myself doing that anymore…but would hate to think I’ll be in a permanent brain fog so I’m glad this has t happened for you.  xx

  • This is exactly it, I also used to work a lot of unpaid hours, but I try not to do that any more unless I really need to get something over the line. I would rather be living my life. Plus, I don't have the energy levels I used to have, I do need to pace myself and I want to fit things in that I enjoy as well as essenitals like work.

    I am really lucky and have continued working exclusively from home. I think being in an office would be very difficult when you can't control the temperature, plus the commute on top and I find being with people exhausting, I need my alone time working by myself to recharge. I know not everyone is as lucky, or even wants to work from home, but for me, I can't see any other way just now.

  • Hi Hel39,

    I am a couple of months in to tamoxifen and my ovaries are no longer functioning. I think most of my tiredness these past 3 months has been from chemo and then 15 sessions of radiotherapy. Fatigue is definitely getting better bit by bit, and along with it my brain function. My endurance through the day is gradually improving and with a bit of pacing I can get to 6pm now. Evenings are still a bit of a write off in terms of being able to do more than sit.

    I find the night sweats a bit harder to manage sometimes and I think those night time disturbances are responsible for most of my tiredness now. I do everything I can to avoid making them worse - caffeine, alcohol, sugary food, chocolate and spicy food. I exercise as I gather that can be helpful with fatigue and I definitely feel more tired on days when I don't manage it. I also have found that a CBD tablet at night makes sweats less frequent for me. I am going to try a course of acupuncture as I gather that can reduce them further too and I think it is worth a try in order to boost my energy levels a bit more.

    The only other thing that happens a bit, esp when I am tired is that I can't find the right word or use substitutes which sometimes work and sometimes don't, which cause a bit of laughter at home. But again I can't imagine that would prevent me from working.

    After treatment, it takes time for your body to recover from treatment and it can take 6 months or more and it helps me mentally to know that it could take that long. So far in my case it has proved to be true and at 3 months there is no way I am ready for work yet.Some people bounce back really fast and maybe you will be like that. I would definitely have returning to work on your very do-able list some time in the year after treatment but would aim to be phasing yourself back in slowly and starting at half of what you think you might be able to do and then slowly build up your hours. xx

  • Thank you. I’m definitely going to explore acupuncture as so many people have recommended this. 

    I don’t think I’ll be able to delay return to work as they’ve given me 6 months full pay and I think are expecting a phased return a couple of hours a day around radiotherapy which I think may actually be nice. It’s just a really pressured job and I worry that as soon as I’m back it will pile back on.

    I only do 6 hours a day anyway which helps so I’m going to ask to do it on flexible hours rather that a set 6 hour block so I can take a long lunch if I need. So will ask to build back up to the number of days in the office v at home.

    in think it’s the ovarian suppression I’m really worried about as I’m such a hormonal person anyway and really struggle with pmt. So to have all those hormone removed..   I will never dare refuse a treatment option though, even if it’s for a few percentage benefit.xx