Women who survive cancer have more frequent, severe, and troubling hot flashes than other women with menopausal symptoms, according to a study published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).
But surprisingly, the cancer survivors fare better psychologically and report a better quality of life than the women without cancer and have about the same levels of sexual activity and function.
This is the first large-scale, clinic-based study to compare these groups of women using standard, validated questionnaires. It included 934 cancer survivors (about 90% survived breast cancer) and 155 participants without cancer who were patients at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Western Australia. The questionnaires, including the Green Climacteric Scale and Fallowfield's Sexual Activity Questionnaire, assessed hot flashes and other menopause-related symptoms and sexual function.
For the cancer survivors, hot flashes were much more frequent and severe. Seventy-six percent reported having hot flashes in the past 24 hours, compared with 54% of women without cancer. And 60% reported those hot flashes were severe or very severe, compared with 40% of the women without cancer. The authors pointed out that menopausal symptoms also seem to persist much longer in the cancer survivors, who often complained of menopausal symptoms many years after their cancer diagnosis.
But the study also offered some surprising findings: The cancer survivors were less troubled by psychological and physical symptoms and reported better quality of life than the women without cancer. In fact, the cancer survivors were less likely to have severe mood swings or sadness and reported significantly better social and family well-being. In addition, the cancer survivors had about the same levels of sexual activity and function, and just about as many (49%) reported severe vaginal dryness as women without cancer (47%). However, the survivors were more likely to attribute their sexual inactivity to "a physical problem that makes sexual relations difficult or uncomfortable."
That this study included women who may have undergone cancer therapy years before could help account for some of the surprising findings, say the authors. The cancer survivors' better emotional and social well-being may be the result of the good social and psychological support available for cancer survivors. Their similar rate of sexual problems did not mean the cancer survivors fared well—the rates were high in both groups.
NAMS Executive Director Margery Gass, MD, comments, "Both expected and surprising, these results highlight that all menopausal women, including cancer survivors, need effective treatment options for their hot flashes and sexual symptoms."
Supported by King Edward Memorial Hospital, AstraZeneca, the National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Center, and the National Breast Cancer Foundation of Australia, the study will be published in the March 2014 print edition of Menopause.
Founded in 1989, The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) is North America's leading nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the health and quality of life of all women during midlife and beyond through an understanding of menopause and healthy aging. Its multidisciplinary membership of 2,000 leaders in the field—including clinical and basic science experts from medicine, nursing, sociology, psychology, nutrition, anthropology, epidemiology, pharmacy, and education—makes NAMS uniquely qualified to serve as the definitive resource for health professionals and the public for accurate, unbiased information about menopause and healthy aging. To learn more about NAMS, visit http://www.menopause.org.
Eileen Petridis | EurekAlert!
'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers
16.02.2018 | National University of Science and Technology MISIS
New process allows tailor-made malaria research
16.02.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
20.02.2018 | Life Sciences
20.02.2018 | Medical Engineering
20.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy