Home Cancer Expert Q&A Hub Coping With Treatments & Side Effects

Post double mastectomy and letrozle weight gain

I am a rather large lady but prior to my mastectomy and following my chemo therapy I managed by increasing my exercise (walking and some online senior cardio) managed to loose 2-3 stone. I was put on letrozole a month after my double mastectomy and told to see how I tolerated it with a review in 6 months.

I have found that I am regaining the weight I lost, almost a stone in 2 months. I am still exercising, in fact have upped it despite my osteoarthritis becoming worse (knees and ankle). Most of the weight seems to be going around my middle, I have a double spare tyre (above and below the waist) and I am now again on the verge of being clinically obese. Post mastectomy I got into the obese(It looks like my removed bust has been planted in the area above my waist, it hasn’t but ……..) There is no muscle tone.

I am in my 70s

Can anyone recommend exercises to help target this nasty addition to my abdomen?

Has anyone got any advice or tips. I try to watch what I eat but yes I find my appetite has increased.

Is there an alternative to Letrozole that would make weight gain less of a problem. I tried so hard to loose the weight and am still trying.

I realise how lucky I am but would dearly like to get my weight back on track even if it is just to help my knees and ankle.

Many thanks


  • LouiseJLouiseJ Posts: 781 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Rozalia @Amber_Thomas_RDN


    Hi Rozalia,

    It is lovely to hear from you again.

    I am so sorry to hear your struggles to keep the weight gain at bay since you began Letrozole.

    It is extremely frustrating, I understand! Trying to lose weight post cancer and with meds is so difficult. It is very common I understand having read what others have experienced.

    I was overweight pre cancer, then gained more during and after. I did start swimming at my local pool to try and help my joints, bones and lose weight too. It has been a very slow process, unfortunately since lockdown, it all went back on again! Now we are in lockdown again so swimming is cancelled.

    You sound very determined and I admire your strength to achieve the weight loss previously.

    It might be worth checking with the breast care team or your oncologist to see if there is an alternative medication that may have less effect. I have a feeling they will all potentially have a similar effect. But it is still good to check it out. I have changed meds three times, mostly due to the bones and joint issues I have. I was on Tamoxifen, then Letrozole, now Exemestane.

    If your ankles and joints can withstand the weightbearing, I do recommend Joe Wicks on YouTube, he has several different levels depending on fitness and ability. I did a lot of his during the first lockdown. Obviously there are others also, but he is engaging and encouraging.

    Don't give up though! Keep chipping away at it, it may be a slower process than before, but I refuse to believe it's not possible.

    Perhaps Amber or Liz may have some insight or tips to help you too. I have tagged them in this conversation.

    Chat soon, take care,

    Lou x

  • Amber_Thomas_RDNAmber_Thomas_RDN Posts: 43 Cancer Nutrition Specialist

    Hi @Rozalia ! Thanks for the tag, @LouiseJ 🙂

    I hear your frustrations. In my experience, it's not unusual to have the experiences you're having with regard to weight gain and increased appetite on Letrozole. As Lou mentioned, the type of medication you're taking tends to have similar side effects, but it may be worth speaking with your oncology team about alternatives.

    Unfortunately, exercise cannot really target a specific area of fat on the body. For instance, doing abdominal exercises can strengthen the muscles in that area, but the fat distribution and where (if) fat is lost may not really be affected.

    I understand my statements aren't exactly helpful in the way you asked. I encourage you to speak to yourself gently and with compassion as you continue on this journey.

    Please continue to reach out!

    Registered Dietitian | Cancer Nutrition Specialist | Online Nutrition Coach



Sign In or Register to comment.