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Menopausal symptoms can affect 3 in 4 women after breast cancer treatment

Release Date: 

14/12/2016

News Type: 

  • Media Releases

Menopausal symptoms can affect 3 in 4 women after breast cancer treatment

Cancer Australia has released new information for women who experience menopausal symptoms as a result of their treatment for breast cancer, and their health professionals.

A new clinical practice guideline, Management of menopausal symptoms in women with a history of breast cancer, provides evidence-based recommendations on the management of menopausal symptoms for all women, regardless of age, who have been treated for breast cancer.

Also released is a consumer guide, Managing menopausal symptoms after breast cancer – A guide for women, which provides information about menopause and managing its symptoms.  

In Australia, the risk of a woman developing breast cancer in her lifetime is 1 in 8. Around a third of breast cancer diagnoses in Australia occur in women aged 20-54 years.

In an Australian survey of over 500 women treated for breast cancer, nearly 3 in 4 reported menopausal symptoms.

Dr Helen Zorbas, CEO, Cancer Australia, said that both pre-menopausal and post-menopausal women with breast cancer frequently experience menopausal symptoms induced by their breast cancer treatment.

“While menopause can be a challenge for any woman, some menopausal symptoms after breast cancer, such as hot flushes and night sweats, are often more severe than “natural” menopause,” said Dr Zorbas.

“Management of menopausal symptoms after treatment for breast cancer can be complex, and needs a different approach to that used by women who enter menopause naturally. However, most symptoms of menopause can be managed with appropriate care,” said Dr Zorbas.

Cancer Australia’s clinical practice guideline, Management of menopausal symptoms in women with a history of breast cancer, includes recommendations on hormonal, non-hormonal and complementary therapies.

“For women with menopausal symptoms relating to breast cancer treatment, the recommendations address therapies where there is evidence of benefit, therapies where there is inconsistent evidence, and where therapies should generally be avoided, or are not recommended,” said Dr Zorbas.

“It is also important for women being treated for breast cancer to have available current, relevant, evidence-based information that answers their questions, supports them through the emotional impact of menopause, and offers some practical suggestions for managing their symptoms.”

Management of menopausal symptoms in women with a history of breast cancer is endorsed by the Australasian Menopause Society, BreastSurgANZ, Medical Oncology Group of Australia, and Breast Cancer Network Australia.

Visit www.canceraustralia.gov.au for more information. 

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