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  • Writer's pictureDr. Bonura

Non-Hormonal Therapy Helps Combat Menopause Symptoms in Breast Cancer Survivors

By Frank Bonura, M.D., Director of Menopausal Health, Saint Catherine of Siena Medical Center, Smithtown, NY


There are almost four million breast cancer survivors in the United States. Every year in the U.S., about 300,000 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.


Many breast cancers are hormone sensitive. To prevent the cancer from returning, women with hormone sensitive cancers are often placed on anti-hormone therapy known as aromatase inhibitors. These medications work by stopping all production of estrogen by the body. During menopause, small amounts of estrogen are normally produced by conversion of male hormones produced by the menopausal ovaries and by the adrenal glands. Unlike naturally occurring menopause, the sudden lack of estrogen caused by aromatase inhibitors can cause severe menopausal symptoms.


Women may suffer from frequent and severe hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia and mood swings, all of which impact quality of life. Also, the lack of estrogen can cause vaginal symptoms such as dryness, burning, and painful intercourse, as well as urinary symptoms including the need to urinate frequently or urgently, or recurrent bladder infections.


Hormone therapy to treat symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats is typically not recommended for women who have had hormone sensitive breast cancer. However, there is a new, non-hormonal therapy that can be safely prescribed to women who have had hormone sensitive breast cancer and are experiencing severe menopausal symptoms.


Clinical Trials have shown this medication is effective in reducing the severity and frequency of hot flashes and night sweats within a short period of time and it is safe to use.

For those women who have vaginal and urinary symptoms, we can offer another non-hormonal medication which is effective and safe to use.


If you are a breast cancer survivor whose quality of life is affected by any of these symptoms, you can be helped. Please call us at 631-724-6262.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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