GP and menopause specialist, Dr Sarah Glynne, joins Dr Louise Newson on the podcast this week to discuss menopause care after breast cancer. The experts share more about the breast cancer steering group established as part of the Newson Health Menopause Society that is working towards producing a consensus statement to support clinicians and improve the quality of life for menopausal women who have had breast cancer.
Dr Sarah Glynne discusses the importance of individualising the risk-benefit ratio for every woman when making decisions around treating the cancer and weighing this up with treating menopausal symptoms. Sarah emphasises the importance of talking through the implications of each of these considerations using a shared decision making process.
Sarah’s three tips for women after breast cancer:
- Understand the risks and benefits of the drugs used to treat your breast cancer and what this means for you personally. Ask your oncologist for more information about your own breast cancer, if you are not sure. You can then use the PREDICT tool online for understanding more about your own cancer risks and what additional benefits any treatments may offer.
- Read about non-hormonal options to help your menopause symptoms and cancer recovery such as diet, yoga, or acupuncture. Try various approaches to find the ones that may bring some benefit to you. Vaginal moisturisers and lubricants may also help and these do not contain hormones, and there are other medications your GP may be able to prescribe for some of your symptoms such as hot flushes.
- If your menopause symptoms are severe and your quality of life is suffering, ask your clinician to explain the risks for you regarding your cancer prognosis if you decide to take HRT, versus the risks to your quality of life and long-term health if you choose not to take HRT. If you have genitourinary symptoms of soreness and dryness, vaginal hormones are very safe for improving these symptoms. Read information on the balance website and the book ‘Oestrogen Matters’ by Avrum Bluming, and make a choice that is right for you through discussion with your clinician using a shared decision making process.