What if there was a drug that cut the risk of breast cancer returning in half, but it came with severe muscle and joint pain? That’s the dilemma facing some women with breast cancer. But a University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center oncologist says it doesn’t need to be a choice between breast cancer and living in pain.
More than half of all breast cancers are driven by the hormone estrogen, which makes them ideal candidates for treatment with a class of drugs called aromatase inhibitors, or AIs. These are prescribed for post-menopausal women after surgery and are taken for a period of five to 10 years. AIs stop the body from producing estrogen. This approach has proven effective, reducing the chance of breast cancer coming back by about half.