"Breast cancer patients are more likely to have joint pain from taking aromatase inhibitors (AIs) if they have advanced stage cancer, according to a study presented at the American College of Rheumatology's annual meeting, held Nov. 7-11, in Atlanta. The study is one of the first to identify factors that increase the likelihood that a patient will suffer joint pain from AI therapy.Only one factor predicted whether women had pain - having later stage cancer. 'If you have stage II or stage III cancer, you are more likely to have this pain than if you have stage I cancer,' Dr. Mandl said. She pointed out that women who had cancer that had metastasized to the bone were excluded from the study, so metastases were not the root of the problem.
'Before this study, we knew some women got this pain. Now we know that it is more likely in patients with later stage cancer and at least some of these women have tenosynovitis but not all,' Dr. Mandl said. 'We were not able to identify any other predisposing factors."
This research study is very interesting to me and provides some comfort. What it assures me is that doctors and scientists really don't know yet why so many women are experiencing joint pain after using AIs (such as Arimidex). It also indicates that they don't even really know what the pain is. What they thought it might be, it isn't. That's interesting. It's largely still a mystery. This is the first time, though, that I've seen it linked to any one characteristic. Mine was a stage II cancer. Does that mean that if I'd been at stage I, I might not have experienced so much joint pain? What if I'd been at stage III? Would it have been worse? Interesting. Why would that make the difference? No doubt there will be more research. Good.