Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Hot flushes are going unrecognized, leaving women vulnerable

05.11.2014

Hot flushes are one of the most distressing conditions faced by women who have been treated for breast cancer, but they are not being adequately addressed by healthcare professionals and some women consider giving up their post cancer medication to try and stop them, a new study has shown.

More than 70 per cent of women who have had breast cancer experience menopausal problems, and hot flushes in particular, which are among the most prevalent and potentially distressing problems following breast cancer treatment.

These can also be long lasting, persisting for more than five years once cancer treatment has ended and affecting all aspects of life, including sleep, social situations, intimate relationships and ability to work.

But research has shown that there are differences between what the patient experiences and what is recognised, and then managed, by healthcare professionals.

Led by Dr Debbie Fenlon at the University of Southampton, the study conducted two surveys with specialist health professionals and women who had been treated for breast cancer.

While clinicians recognised that their patients experienced hot flushes and their quality of life is diminished, the way that they treated the condition was mixed. The majority (94 per cent) of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that hot flushes are an unmet need.

Results from the women's survey showed that they perceived the impact of hot flushes as being much greater than the healthcare professionals reported. The majority of the healthcare professions reported that only 10 to 30 per cent of breast cancer patients have severe hot flushes that affect daily living and quality of sleep.

In contrast, when the women were asked to give a problem rating (one to 10) for their hot flushes in the past week, the majority of respondents rated flushes between six and 10 (out of 10) as to how much of a problem they are and six and 10 (out of 10) for how distressed they were by flushing.

Furthermore, of 666 women who responded to the questionnaire, 94 per cent said that they suffered from hot flushes and 75 per cent rated them as a major problem in their life. However only 25 per cent had ever been spoken to by a health professional about their hot flushes.

Dr Fenlon comments: "It is clear from our surveys that clinicians are left making individual decisions based on personal experience and availability of local services. This has led to a patchy and inequitable position for patients in the management of this troubling problem. There is a need for research to understand the physiology of flushing and to develop and test new interventions to address this intractable problem, which continues to be a cause of considerable distress to many women after breast cancer."

A troubling result from the women's survey was that a third of women having hot flushes considered stopping taking their oestrogen blocking drugs to prevent the flushes from happening.

Dr Fenlon explained: "Endocrine therapies generally work by preventing the production of oestrogen, a hormone that encourages breast cancer to grow and spread. This says much for how bad and distressing hot flushes can be that women are considering not taking their oestrogen blocking drugs to try and stop them.

"There are no agreed guidelines for managing hot flushes after breast cancer, which may limit the access and availability of appropriate interventions. There is also little evidence to support a variety of interventions, none of which are entirely effective at removing hot flushes, other than Hormone Replacement Therapy, which is contraindicated. This needs to be changed to ensure this patient group is not left vulnerable."

The research was carried out by a number of organisations, led by the University of Southampton, alongside Independent Cancer Patients Voices, the University of Warwick, the National Cancer Research Institute, Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Campaign. It has been presented at the National Cancer Research Institute Cancer Conference by Lesley Turner from Independent Cancer Patients Voices, supported by Professor Janet Dunn from the University of Warwick.

Becky Attwood | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.soton.ac.uk

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Amputees can learn to control a robotic arm with their minds
28.11.2017 | University of Chicago Medical Center

nachricht The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A whole-body approach to understanding chemosensory cells

13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

Water without windows: Capturing water vapor inside an electron microscope

13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cellular Self-Digestion Process Triggers Autoimmune Disease

13.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>