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 Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

nachricht Oxygen loss in the coastal Baltic Sea is “unprecedentedly severe”
05.07.2018 | European Geosciences Union

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: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Global study of world's beaches shows threat to protected areas

19.07.2018 | Earth Sciences

New creepy, crawly search and rescue robot developed at Ben-Gurion U

19.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Metal too 'gummy' to cut? Draw on it with a Sharpie or glue stick, science says

19.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>