Menopausal symptoms in women with breast cancer: prevalence and treatment preferences

Myra S Hunter, Elizabeth A Grunfeld, Sangeeta Mittal, Pooja Sikka, Amanda-Jane Ramirez, Ian Fentiman, Hisham Hamed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


Menopausal symptoms are common and problematic for women receiving adjuvant treatment for breast cancer and management presents a challenge. This cross-sectional descriptive study aimed to investigate the experience of menopausal symptoms, current management and treatment preferences of 113 patients with breast cancer. These women (who were prescribed tamoxifen and were on average 3 years post-diagnosis) were recruited from a breast unit database. They completed the Hot Flush and Night Sweats Questionnaire (HFNSQ), the Women's Health Questionnaire (WHQ) and subscales of the EORTC-QLQ-C30 and the BR23, as well as questions about treatments. Forty-four of this sample were also interviewed. The prevalence of hot flushes and night sweats was 80 and 72%, respectively (average 30 per week). Having more problematic hot flushes and night sweats were associated with more anxiety and sleep problems (WHQ), and with poorer emotional and social functioning and worse body image (EORTC-QLQ-C30). The women had used a range of treatments for menopausal symptoms but there was often no evidence for the efficacy for many of these treatments. Strongest preferences were for non-medical treatments, particularly vitamins and herbal remedies and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). The evidence for the effectiveness of the former is weak, whereas CBT has been shown to reduce menopausal symptoms, but needs to be evaluated in a population of women who have been treated for breast cancer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)769-78
Number of pages10
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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