It’s taken a few months for it to really sink in, but my hair is thinning. Rapidly. The bathroom looks like one of my exes has moved back in. If the thinning stopped right now, it would be manageable with a bit of fluffing and arranging over the crown, but I’m afraid it won’t.
I saw my oncologist Tuesday for my 6-month checkup and he confirmed my suspicion — that the aromatase inhibitor (aka AI, either Aromasin or Femara) I’m taking is the culprit. It stops all estrogen synthesis by the adrenal glands, so I’m getting zip, less even than a normal post-menopausal woman would have. The result is thinning hair, leaning toward what is called male-pattern baldness.
Needless to say, I’m not happy. I’m supposed to be on an AI for five years and I’m only about half way there.
I’ve switched back and forth several times between the Aromasin (exemestane) and Femara (letrozole), trying to see which has the fewest side effects, but there doesn’t seem to be much difference. (There’s a third option, Arimidex, that I haven’t tried.)
Most recently I’ve been on Aromasin, but am switching back to Femara (letrozole) because my new insurance company puts Aromasin in a much higher price tier. Maybe the Femara won’t cause as much thinning, but I’m not optimistic.
What to do, what to do. I’ve read a lot of women stop taking the AIs because of the hair loss, but compared to the possibility of a cancer recurrence, that doesn’t seem like much of an option. On the other hand, I still have a fair amount of hair.
I didn’t think to ask the doctor if, at the end of the five years, my hair will grow back. If it won’t, that will put a whole different light on things. I’m to see him again in June and will ask then. If it won’t grow back, ever, I may freak out.