How do you manage menopausal symptoms if you’ve had breast cancer treatment?

Posted on 16th November 2019

Breast cancer is very common. Each woman in the UK has a 1 in 8 chance of developing breast cancer regardless of whether they take HRT or not. 

We recognise that diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer can be a testing time! However, the sudden onset of menopause that follows it is not easy either.

Many women in the UK take hormone replacement therapy (HRT)to reduce menopausal symptoms. But most doctors don't recommend taking HRT after breast cancer.

This is because we know that HRT can increase the risk that the breast cancer will come back. It also increases the risk of developing another breast cancer. There may be some situations when HRT may be prescribed (depending on nature of tumour, receptor status, time since treatment, severity of symptoms) however, this should follow thorough discussion about benefits and risks of HRT between the menopause specialist, oncologist and the woman who is considering the treatment.

There are many other ways of reducing symptoms when you can't take HRT and preserving your health.

1.   Lifestyle changes for hot flushes -

§  Keep your room cool using a fan/cooler

§  Cut out coffee, tea and nicotine

§  Wear several layers of light clothing you can easily take off or put on

§  Wear natural fibres such as silk or cotton 

§  Sip cold drinks regularly

§  Cut down on alcohol 

§  Have a lukewarm shower instead of a hot one

§  If you’re taking Tamoxifen, try splitting the dose to half twice daily

2.   Alternative therapies for hot flushes, mood swings and sleep disturbances-Acupuncture or Yoga therapy

3.   Medicines for hot flushes-Venlafaxine, Clonidineor Gabapentin 

4.   Treatment of vaginal dryness– 

§ Moisturising or lubricating products 

§ Low dose vaginal oestrogen preparations 

§ Ospemifene 

§ Non-invasive vaginal rejuvenation treatments 

 

5. Femarelle range of products- DT56a (from soy) 

6. Regular weight-bearing exercise, calcium rich diet and vitamin D for bone health.

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