There is a wide range of ‘over-the-counter’ medications or herbal remedies available for the management of menopausal symptoms.
Examples include Dong Quai, evening primrose, ginseng, red clover and Chinese herbal preparations. There is very little evidence about the effectiveness or safety of over-the-counter menopausal remedies and very little is known about their effects in women who have had breast cancer.
Although plants and herbs are natural, this doesn’t always mean they are safe. Some herbs can interfere with cancer treatments by making them less effective or by increasing side effects. Some herbal preparations may contain oestrogen-like compounds that may increase the risk of breast cancer coming back.
If you are considering using any ‘over-the-counter’ or herbal preparations you should discuss them with your doctor first.
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in the USA has developed a database called About Herbs with information about herbal therapies and supplements. To access this information go to www.mskcc.org. Please note that this is an American website and not all of the products listed maybe available in Australia.