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Non-drug treatments help alleviate symptoms of treatment-induced menopause in breast cancer patients
Date:3/22/2012

Vienna, Austria: Researchers from The Netherlands have found that the menopausal symptoms caused by giving chemotherapy or hormonal therapy to younger women with breast cancer can be ameliorated considerably through the use of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)[1] and physical exercise (PE). These interventions can be effective in dealing with such distressing symptoms as hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, weight gain, urinary incontinence and sexual problems, a researcher will tell the 8th European Breast Cancer Conference (EBCC-8) today (Thursday).

The researchers studied 422 breast cancer patients with an average age of 48 years recruited from 14 hospitals from the Amsterdam and Rotterdam regions of the Netherlands. They were randomly assigned to four groups CBT alone, PE alone, CBT and PE combined and a control group. Compared with the control group, all those patients who received one or both interventions showed an overall decrease in the levels of menopausal symptoms, in addition to reporting an increase in sexuality and an improvement in physical functioning. These positive effects were still apparent after six months.

"To our knowledge, this is the first study to investigate the efficacy of these two interventions specifically in women who have experienced acute, treatment-induced menopause," Dr. Marc van Beurden from The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, will say. "This is a very important issue for the quality of life of younger breast cancer patients. Unlike healthy women starting the menopause, they are unable to take hormone replacement therapy to alleviate their symptoms. There are other drugs available, but they are only moderately effective and have troublesome side-effects."

The CBT programme consisted of six weekly group sessions of 90 minutes each, including relaxation exercises. The primary focus of the CBT was on hot flushes and night sweats, but other symptoms were also addres
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Contact: Mary Rice
mary.rice@riceconseil.eu
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation
Source:Eurekalert

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