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How Effective Is Letrozole for Breast Cancer?

By Erik J.J. Goserud
Updated May 17, 2024
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The effectiveness of letrozole for breast cancer depends on a variety of factors, making it difficult to generalize about its use. These factors are many; however, among the most influential are genetics, age, overall health, and the nature of the cancerous growth. Other factors, such as the stage of the cancer, may also play significant roles in altering the effectiveness of letrozole for breast cancer.

Breast cancer is defined as a malignant mass originating in the tissue of the breast. Malignant, as opposed to benign, refers to the ability of the mass to rapidly grow and potentially metastasize, or spread, to other parts of the body. This rapid growth and tendency to change location is the defining characteristic of cancer. Cancer generally spreads by dislodging from the original site and entering part of the cardiovascular system, which can act as a medium for transportation to other susceptible areas of the body.

If a person is diagnosed with cancer, depending on the severity, there are a number of mechanisms for treatment. Among these treatments are surgical removal of the mass, chemical or chemotherapy, and pharmaceutical intervention. More often than not, doctors use numerous treatment options simultaneously to maximize the odds of successful treatment. Letrozole for breast cancer is an example of a pharmaceutical intervention.

A nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitor, letrozole is most frequently taken orally and utilized postsurgery for breast cancer that is responsive to hormones. The body produces estrogens through androgen conversion, which uses the aromatase enzyme. Estrogen may promote cancerous growth by enabling cell division through a binding mechanism. Letrozole for breast cancer is effective in that it inhibits the action of aromatase, contributing to less production of estrogen, hence a decrease in cell division.

Letrozole for breast cancer is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration; however, a health care professional must prescribe it. This professional should be equipped with the skills and knowledge to effectively manage a cancerous case in maximizing the potential for recovery. Doctors take the potential factors affecting the use of letrozole for breast cancer into account. The patient demographics, medical history, and state of cancer should all go into consideration when developing a treatment plan. Generally, the sooner a potentially cancerous mass is identified and treated, the more positive the prognosis. For this reason, it is important to constantly check one's body for unusual growths, and should one present itself, a person should immediately consult a medical professional.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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