Femara is used for the treatment of certain types of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. The medicine works by blocking the action of estrogen receptors in the body, which lowers the production of this hormone and helps decrease the cancer's growth. Off-label Femara uses can include the treatment of excess estrogen in men and infertility in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome.
An Overview of Femara UsesFemara® (letrozole) is a prescription medication used for the treatment of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Specifically, Femara uses include the treatment of postmenopausal women who:
- Have early breast cancer that is hormone receptor-positive and who have had surgery
- Have taken tamoxifen (Nolvadex®, Soltamox™) for five years after surgery or radiation for breast cancer
- Have advanced or metastatic (spreading) breast cancer that is either hormone receptor-positive or hormone receptor-unknown.
Understanding Breast CancerWomen in the United States get breast cancer more than any other type of cancer, except for skin cancer. Each year, more than 211,000 American women learn that they have the disease. Most breast cancer causes are not known. In 5 percent to 10 percent of these cases, there is a hereditary component. Some common breast cancer symptoms include:
- A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm area
- A change in how the breast or nipple feels
- Nipple tenderness
- A change in how the breast or nipple looks
- A change in the size or shape of the breast
- A nipple turned inward into the breast
- Nipple discharge (fluid).
In general, breast cancer treatment options can include:
- Surgery (see Breast Cancer Surgery)
- Radiation therapy (see Breast Cancer Radiation)
- Chemotherapy (see Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer)
- Hormone therapy, such as Femara (see Breast Cancer Hormone Treatment)
- Biological therapy (see Biological Therapy for Breast Cancer).
The treatment that is best for a particular person will depend on the stage of breast cancer (see Breast Cancer Treatment by Stage).