In a recent study comparing hot flashes in 934 cancer survivors (90% of whom had breast cancer) and 155 age-matched control subjects who never had cancer, researches observed that cancer survivors reported more frequent, severe, and troubling hot flashes.

Why? The authors speculate that women with breast cancer who are taking antiestrogens, like tamoxifen, or aromatase inhibitors may experience more frequent or severe hot flashes than women experiencing natural menopause. Similarly, woman who have their ovaries (for ovarian or endometrial cancer) are usually treated with hysterectomy, and the authors hypothesized that removal of the ovaries may result in more bothersome hot flashes.

On the bright side, this study found that cancer survivors were less likeky to be troubled by depression and reported better quality of life and emotional well-being than control subjects.

Why?  The authors speculate that cancer survivors may benefit from the increased level of supports available to those diagnosed with cancer.

RutaNonacs, MD PHD

Marino JL, Saunders CM, Emery LI, et al. Nature and severity of menopausal symptoms and their impact on quality of life and sexual function in cancer survivors compared with women without a cancer history. Menopause. 2013 Jul 22. [Epub ahead of print]

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