After breast cancer survivors have made it through the wilderness, many experience a renewed sense of faith and acknowledge that their lives have forever been changed. For example, some women may have long-term or even lifelong side effects from their cancer treatments. Others may rely on a new medication regimen like tamoxifen or other hormonal therapies. Also, there may be medications for other conditions that are no longer an option to take because of the breast cancer diagnosis. When a breast cancer survivor experiences menopause, these changes may require help to navigate.
Did you know about 80% of women diagnosed with breast cancer each year are ages 45 or older?
About 80% of women diagnosed with breast cancer each year are ages 45 or older. Because the average age of menopause is 51, it's reasonable to assume that a great majority of breast cancer survivors will go through it. Chemotherapy or hormone therapy medications used to treat breast cancer, such as tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors, can cause pre-menopausal women to experience menopause symptoms. However, traditional menopausal hormone replacement therapy is not recommended for someone who has had breast cancer.
The most common menopausal symptoms experienced by women who have had breast cancer include vaginal discomfort and dryness, as well as hot flashes and night sweats.
Vaginal Discomfort and Dryness
Medications such as vitamin A, E, and D used vaginally can help with vaginal dryness. Low-dose vaginal estriol may also be an option because estriol has been shown to have a positive effect on vaginal mucosa without elevating blood serum hormone levels*.
* (van der Vies J., The pharmacology of oestriol. Maturitas 1982;4:291-299)
Hot Flashes and Night Sweats
For hot flashes and night sweats, some physicians like to use a medication combination called Bellergal®, but like the options mentioned above, it must be compounded because it is no longer commercially available.
Our compounding pharmacists can work with physicians and their patients to formulate the best options to address menopause symptoms—even after breast cancer. Because life continues after breast cancer, and we're determined to help you feel your best.
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If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Innovation Compounding at 1-800-547-1399, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST, excluding all major holidays.
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