Breast cancer and menopause: perceptions of diagnosis, menopausal therapies and health behaviors

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Objectives The aim of this study was to investigate the perception and experience of menopause diagnosis and therapies, the information provided and health behaviors in younger women with breast cancer. Methods The questionnaire study was completed by 114 women, aged 40 ? 51 years, with non-metastatic breast cancer. Women were recruited from outpatient clinics and the community. Descriptive statistics were completed. Results Most women were satisfi ed with the manner in which they were informed of the breast cancer (69 ) and the menopause (59 ) diagnoses. Although 80 of women were given breast cancer information, only 54 were given menopause information at diagnosis. Women were least satisfi ed (26 ) with information regarding the long-term complications of menopause. Women perceived exercise (68 ) and improving lifestyle (61 ) as most effective in alleviating symptoms of menopause. The majority of women reported that they did not understand the risks/benefi ts of ` bioidentical ? hormones (79 ) and herbal therapies (78 ), while 58 perceived hormone replacement therapies as associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. Most women reported weight gain (68 ) and osteoporosis (67 ) as the most common problems/fears regarding menopause. However, regarding health behaviors, only 56 reported having relevant tests including a blood sugar test or a bone density test. Conclusion While information needs regarding breast cancer appear well met in younger women, unmet information needs regarding menopause after breast cancer persist. Further education and support are required for these women to optimize health screening and prevention behaviors and to ensure informed decisionmaking regarding menopause treatment options.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59 - 67
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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