Recommendations for Women Who Entered Early Menopause Due to Chemotherapy
Many women are diagnosed with breast cancer before they reach menopause.
Many women are diagnosed with breast cancer before they reach menopause. Anadolu Health Center Medical Oncology Specialist Prof. said that, according to the latest research, there is a relationship between cancer treatment and menopause, but research continues. Dr. Serdar Turhal said, “A study investigating chemotherapy-related side effects and changes in quality of life was presented at the European Oncology Association Meeting. “In this study, it was reported that approximately 50 percent of the patients who received preventive chemotherapy for the diagnosis of early stage breast cancer stopped menstruating and entered menopause within the four-year follow-up period.” Prof. Dr. Serdar Turhal made important suggestions on the subject…
The study, conducted with 12 thousand patients at the European Association of Oncology Meeting held in Paris, included 1,676 patients who were younger than 50 years old, had not entered menopause when they were diagnosed with breast cancer, and had received chemotherapy. Approximately 91 percent of these patients, whose average age was 42, received chemotherapy and 75 percent received hormone therapy.
Regular menstrual cycle after chemotherapy changes depending on age
According to the results of the research, patients who received chemotherapy after the diagnosis of breast cancer stopped menstruating and entered menopause at the end of the first year. In the study, it was reported that while the rate of patients entering menopause 1 year after chemotherapy treatment was 83 percent, this rate decreased to 58 percent in 745 patients whose 4-year follow-up was completed. Additionally, the research shows that the menstrual cycles of women whose menstruation stopped after chemotherapy regained their normal pattern after 1 or 2 years. Age is a very important factor in the normalization of the menstrual cycle. While menstruation returned in 45 percent of patients younger than 34 years of age at the end of the first year, this rate was only 7 percent in patients over 40 years of age. At the end of 4 years, the rate of patients under the age of 34 whose menstrual periods have returned is 78 percent, while when we look at those over the age of 40, this rate is 26 percent.
The chemotherapy administered and the patient’s condition affect the menstrual cycle.
Chemotherapy received at an advanced age and the type of chemotherapy applied affect the patient’s menopause status. In the report, it was observed that the patient’s weakness prevented the menstrual cycle from starting again. Another issue that draws attention in this study is that the quality of life of women whose menstrual periods do not return is greatly affected. Conditions such as attention deficit, lack of concentration and sexual reluctance were observed in these patients. As a result of the research, the rate of regular menstrual cycle in patients who received chemotherapy treatment under the age of 34 was 50 percent, while this rate can be calculated as 30 percent in patients between the ages of 35-40.
Can precautions be taken before starting chemotherapy?
It is possible to take some precautions before starting chemotherapy. Chemotherapy can accelerate the process of early menopause, but the most important precautions that can be taken to prevent this are to start hormonal drugs that stop menstruation before starting chemotherapy; These drugs are also available in Turkey and can be obtained with social security. On the other hand, to answer a concern that immediately comes to mind, I would like to emphasize that these drugs do not have any negative effect on the effectiveness of the preventive treatment used for breast cancer, and in some cases, they also have the ability to positively affect the course of breast cancer.
However, despite all the precautions, there are suggestions to keep the quality of life high in case of menopause. Here is Prof. Dr. Serdar Turhal’s suggestions:
- Consume fresh vegetables and fruits in season
- Limit salt, sugar and saturated fat intake as much as possible
- Focus on consuming foods containing estrogen, especially soybeans.
- Try to stay at ideal weight
- Exercise around 30 minutes a day
- Do not smoke
- Consume red meat, chicken and fish in balanced proportions
- Make sure you get around 7-8 hours of sleep a day.
- Pay attention to stress management