Breast cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the UK. Men can also develop breast cancer, although this is rare. This group is for anyone affected by breast cancer to get together, ask questions, share experiences and support each other.

Rib Pain - Arimidex

Coastal-lady
Posted by

Hi everyone 

Quick q if I may. I was diagnosed with stage 2 lobular BC in my left Breast last November. Since then I've had a mx (no lymph node involvement) & immediate recon, gave Chemo a swerve and went straight to 15 sessions of rads. I've been taking Anastrozole for the last 3 and a half months. I started with Accord brand but experienced sever joint pain - to the point where I could barely hold a pen & my 89 year old mother was getting out of a chair quicker thank I was. I also experienced severe rib pain. I switched to arimidex and the symptoms were much reduced. But last weekend the rib pain started again but this time on my RIGHT side. It's now v severe. And again I'm having problems getting out of a chair ( should I change my chairs ?!!) I'm pretty sure it's the ARIMIDEX but it is super painful & of course my normally subjective Brain has started to go into overdrive.I've started my phased return, but am now dreading long car journeys etc as I understand the OCCH Doc is quite unsympathetic. Anyway this is a long bc winded way of asking if anyone else has experienced the stabbing rib pain on ny version of Anastrozole plse ? I've been told repeatedly that I no longer have any cancer left after they removed my tumour- but with this pain, I'm imaging the worst ! Thanks for your help in advance.



 

Dreamthief
Posted by

Morning  

Please don't have a knee jerk reaction and get your tablet brand changed from Arimidex anytime soon...

I think Lynn / is taking Arimidex and may be able to help ?

Arimidex is the original registered maker of Anastrozole and considered the best (and most expensive) for minimal side effects. This rib pain could be down to the tablets or lack of oestrogen from them but if so you may well be getting joint pain and aches in other places too ?

You mention being back at work on a phased return and also driving with long car journeys - Could this rib pain be caused by a shift in the way you actually sit now post surgery (a posture thing - slumped forward a little in chairs) coupled with the car seat belt ? or even down to a chest muscle / rib strain rather than anything sinister ?

Most Occy health folks are pro-employer,  totally clueless about long term cancer issues and have no personal experience of cancer to draw on so that comment doesn't surprise me in the slightest.

Think the best way forward would to contact your BCN first rather than GP and see what they recommend. if your BCN was a bit useless then go the GP route and get this looked into.

If this pain is near the centre of the chest (ribs) and seemed to move from left to right it could be the lack of oestrogen is affecting the costocartilages which is the cartilage either side of the sternum like it affects other joints?

OK i've run out of ideas now :)  Hope you find a unworrying (is that a word) answer to this soon and a simple fix to ease it.

Take care, G n' J

Kacang
Posted by

Hi  Sorry to hear you're having trouble with Arimidex, especially that rib pain, which sounds horrid. 

I'm not sure I can add much to what Dreamthief has already told you. I've found Arimidex to be the best of the anastrozole options, with way lighter SEs than the generics. It does get easier over time as your body gets used to the lack of oestrogen. 

I have found that my body doesn't deal as well with unusual movement as it did once upon a time. Not putting that very well so here's an example: I recently joined a strength and balance exercise class, with many exercises I've not done before. I was in agony for several days afterwards, mostly in tendons and cartilage  and especially in my lower back and one hip. Same again last  week but not quite so bad. I've also found that an old (1980s) repetitive strain injury has flared up and my arm can get quite sore if I hang out on the computer for too long. I can only attribute these to the Arimidex. So, similar but not identical, problems to yours.  

Don't rush to quit the Arimidex but I do agree with George that the best thing to do is to ring your BCN. Good luck with it.

Sammywam
Posted by

Hi

I take aromasin exemastane. I have pain in my ribs and my collarbones all the time as well as hip pain and knuckle pain. Im not sure if my.drugs the same.type as yours but I was told by my oncologist that my.rib pain is due to the after effects  of radiotherapy.(I had 15 sessions and 5 booster sessions). I was told there is a thin but strong membrane over our ribs and this can become inflamed and.thats what causes the pain.


I have the same worries but my mri was repeated and I got the results last week and they say all is well! 


If you've had radiotherapy them it could be similar for you.


Good luck and try to stay positive.


Sammywam

Jspindley
Posted by

Coastal-lady

Hi everyone 

Quick q if I may. I was diagnosed with stage 2 lobular BC in my left Breast last November. Since then I've had a mx (no lymph node involvement) & immediate recon, gave Chemo a swerve and went straight to 15 sessions of rads. I've been taking Anastrozole for the last 3 and a half months. I started with Accord brand but experienced sever joint pain - to the point where I could barely hold a pen & my 89 year old mother was getting out of a chair quicker thank I was. I also experienced severe rib pain. I switched to arimidex and the symptoms were much reduced. But last weekend the rib pain started again but this time on my RIGHT side. It's now v severe. And again I'm having problems getting out of a chair ( should I change my chairs ?!!) I'm pretty sure it's the ARIMIDEX but it is super painful & of course my normally subjective Brain has started to go into overdrive.I've started my phased return, but am now dreading long car journeys etc as I understand the OCCH Doc is quite unsympathetic. Anyway this is a long bc winded way of asking if anyone else has experienced the stabbing rib pain on ny version of Anastrozole plse ? I've been told repeatedly that I no longer have any cancer left after they removed my tumour- but with this pain, I'm imaging the worst ! Thanks for your help in advance.


 

Coastal-lady

Hi everyone 

Quick q if I may. I was diagnosed with stage 2 lobular BC in my left Breast last November. Since then I've had a mx (no lymph node involvement) & immediate recon, gave Chemo a swerve and went straight to 15 sessions of rads. I've been taking Anastrozole for the last 3 and a half months. I started with Accord brand but experienced sever joint pain - to the point where I could barely hold a pen & my 89 year old mother was getting out of a chair quicker thank I was. I also experienced severe rib pain. I switched to arimidex and the symptoms were much reduced. But last weekend the rib pain started again but this time on my RIGHT side. It's now v severe. And again I'm having problems getting out of a chair ( should I change my chairs ?!!) I'm pretty sure it's the ARIMIDEX but it is super painful & of course my normally subjective Brain has started to go into overdrive.I've started my phased return, but am now dreading long car journeys etc as I understand the OCCH Doc is quite unsympathetic. Anyway this is a long bc winded way of asking if anyone else has experienced the stabbing rib pain on ny version of Anastrozole plse ? I've been told repeatedly that I no longer have any cancer left after they removed my tumour- but with this pain, I'm imaging the worst ! Thanks for your help in advance.



 

Hi, my BC was identical to yours..After taking Letrozole for about 3 mths I was in so much pain with aching muscles and bones, felt like a 90yr old!..my oncologist suggested I took calcium and D3 but after I did a lot of research I mentioned to her that Letrozole may weaken my bones and that I needed Magnesium and K2 to help with the absorption of the calcium...I get these now on prescription after also educating my GP who didn't have a clue! Please try this combination and read up about Magnesium, it is an AMAZING supplement as it works with calcium absorption and is a muscle relaxant! After taking it for a week or two I had NO pain! I feel wonderful!...I have had replies from so many people who have suffered with terrible aching muscles, they have thanked me for this knowledge!..Don't worry! the pain is a side effect from Letrozole, Armidex, Anastrozole etc..I have never taken supplements in my life but believe me Magnesium will work for you! My GP was reluctant to give me it on prescription, I explained to him that it is given intravenously to people who have heart attacks, seizures etc as it relaxes your muscles, I also told him 80/90% of the population are deficient in Magnesium as we don't get it in our diet! He wasn't convinced my Letrozole had such horrible side affects! Thank god for the wonderful NHS but glad I did my own research! 
Coastal-lady

Hi everyone 

Quick q if I may. I was diagnosed with stage 2 lobular BC in my left Breast last November. Since then I've had a mx (no lymph node involvement) & immediate recon, gave Chemo a swerve and went straight to 15 sessions of rads. I've been taking Anastrozole for the last 3 and a half months. I started with Accord brand but experienced sever joint pain - to the point where I could barely hold a pen & my 89 year old mother was getting out of a chair quicker thank I was. I also experienced severe rib pain. I switched to arimidex and the symptoms were much reduced. But last weekend the rib pain started again but this time on my RIGHT side. It's now v severe. And again I'm having problems getting out of a chair ( should I change my chairs ?!!) I'm pretty sure it's the ARIMIDEX but it is super painful & of course my normally subjective Brain has started to go into overdrive.I've started my phased return, but am now dreading long car journeys etc as I understand the OCCH Doc is quite unsympathetic. Anyway this is a long bc winded way of asking if anyone else has experienced the stabbing rib pain on ny version of Anastrozole plse ? I've been told repeatedly that I no longer have any cancer left after they removed my tumour- but with this pain, I'm imaging the worst ! Thanks for your help in advance.



 


Coastal-lady
Posted by

Hi everyone, thanks very much for your kind thoughts. I did reply yesterday but it doesn't seem to have posted ! 

As suggested, I have now called my lovely BCN whose advised getting it checked out so seeing the GP today. I checked back through my Anastrozole diary ( does this make me sad?) & almost 3 weeks after taking the Accord brand the rib pain started on my left side ... so I do wonder if it's that as I'm now 3 weeks into Arimidex. I'm v reluctant to get rid of that as although I still have aches and pains but apart from the rib pain, I can live with that. Although if they could get rid of the fatigue and hot flushes I'd be thinking I could cope with my new normal !


It's just v strange it's on the RIGHT side - so not treated by surgery or rads ! 


Thanks for the suggestion re magnesium and calcium etc ... I'm not currently taking any supplements as still waiting for a bone density scan. But I'll talk to GP about yst too

As I'm so knackered anyway I wonder if I need Vit D as a help ... I'll update later. I really do apprwish coate your rhoughts.  

Baki
Posted by

Hi JSpindley

I'm on Letrozole and feel like I'm 190 years old, not only 90 years old. Will you pls let me know whT are the exact supplements (and brand names) that helped with the pain.

Thanks

Coastal-lady
Posted by

So the GP thinks it's the Arimidex as my body settles into its new regime. I'll watch it like a hawk but hope the aches and pains do settle. 

My GP wouldn't discuss any supplements until I have had a bone scan - which I get. 


But to be ready to hit this hard when I have had it next month, I'd also be grateful for the details of the supplements mentioned plse ! 


Thanks again for everyone's replies. So kind of you to take the time. Onwards and upwards ! 

Jspindley
Posted by

...my GP told me my bone scan was fine, I told him "of course it is!..I had the bone scan at the same time I started my Letrozole and I am taking calcium!" GPS are NOT knowledgeable about supplements...my second bone scan showed a deterioration! I insisted on the supplements and said I will stop taking the Letrozole if he didn't give me them as I am not suffering like that! To be honest if he had refused I would have just bought them 'cos they are my saviour!..the only one I pay for is K2, I am 63 and don't pay for prescriptions. My  Oncologist sent a fax to my GP saying I must have calcium D3, I then bought the Magnesium but can be expensive so now I get them on prescription, suppose it depends on your GP!... Hope all goes well!

Coastal-lady

So the GP thinks it's the Arimidex as my body settles into its new regime. I'll watch it like a hawk but hope the aches and pains do settle. 

My GP wouldn't discuss any supplements until I have had a bone scan - which I get. 

But to be ready to hit this hard when I have had it next month, I'd also be grateful for the details of the supplements mentioned plse ! 


Thanks again for everyone's replies. So kind of you to take the time. Onwards and upwards ! 


The supplements I take are:

ADCAL D3 (calcium dosn't absorb without D3)

LAMBERTS MagAbsorb

VITAMIN K2 (from Holland and Barrett)


Jspindley
Posted by

Hi Baki, the supplements I take are:

ADCAL D3 ( must have D3 to help with absorption, ask your Oncologist to Fax your GP to give you them!)
LAMBERTS MagAbsorb (they are reluctant to give you these because of the cost, just buy them!)
K2 supplements (from Holland and Barrett)

Please try these, your aches and pains will go! Also you won't have fatigue!
Coastal-lady
Posted by

Thank you !