Date of Award

January 2013

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Yale University School of Nursing

First Advisor

Tish Knobf


Background: Endocrine therapy for breast cancer with Aromatase Inhibitors (AI) is designed to reduce risk of recurrence and improve survival. AI therapy is associated with a variety of symptoms including musculoskeletal complaints, which have contributed to discontinuation of treatment. It is significantly important to explore the symptom profile of AIs that contribute to patients' quality of life and adherence behavior. Objective: The purpose of the study was a secondary analysis exploring the symptom profile of post-menopausal breast cancer survivors on AIs. Methods: Data were collected from self-reported demographic and medical forms from 36 women on AIs identified in the primary study. Symptoms were identified using the Breast Cancer Prevention Trial Symptom Checklist (BCPT-SCL) and mean severity distress scores were calculated for each symptom. Results: The most frequently reported symptoms were musculoskeletal and vasomotor specifically joint pain (75%), hot flashes (75%), general aches and pains (75%), and muscle stiffness (69.4%). The highest reported mean severity distress score was unhappiness with body image. Conclusions: There is no confirmed etiology or established evidence based management for musculoskeletal complaints related to AI use. Future studies are needed to further understand AI-related musculoskeletal symptoms in order to develop interventions to improve symptom management and symptom distress.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access