In a nutshell
This present study evaluated the role of menopausal symptoms in the prognosis of breast cancer patients.
Menopause is the period in a woman’s life after menstruation stops and the ovaries become inactive, defined as 12 months after a woman's last period. With menopause, the level of female sex hormones such as estrogen also drops. Some breast cancer treatments can affect the way the ovaries work, resulting in women starting their menopause earlier than expected. Other treatments may cause a temporary menopause or side effects similar to menopausal symptoms. Women with breast cancer, commonly experience menopausal symptoms after the initiation of cancer therapy. This includes hot flashes and night sweats, vaginal dryness, mood swings, tiredness, sleep problems and body pain, affecting their quality of life. Having this symptoms following treatment for breast cancer may suggest treatment efficacy.
Methods & findings
For this study, 4,842 women with breast cancer, aged 25-70, were recruited within 6 months after diagnosis. Participants were followed by in-person interviews at 18, 36, and 60 months after their cancer diagnosis. After a period of approximately 5.3 years, 720 recurrences (return of the cancer) were reported. About 56% of all patients reported one or more menopausal symptoms. 44, 2% patients had hot flashes, 35.4% had night sweats and 8.8% reported vaginal dryness, with a higher proportion in patients with stage II cancer.
Experiencing hot flashes or having 2 or more menopausal symptoms was associated with lower risk of recurrence among premenopausal women. Lower recurrence was also reported among women who were not overweight or obese, in those with relatively low waist-to-hip ratio and those who had been treated with tamoxifen.
The bottom line
In summary, the presence of menopausal symptoms was associated with a lower risk of breast cancer recurrence.
The fine print
This study was based on interviews, therefore the data included is based on subjective information.
Published By :
Sep 30, 2013
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