Differences in clinician understanding and management of early menopause after breast cancer

Padaphet Sayakhot, Helena Jane Teede, Melanie Gibson-Helm, Amanda Jane Vincent

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Objective Investigation of clinicians ? understanding of early menopause diagnosis/management in women with breast cancer. Methods A cross-sectional study of 176 randomly recruited Australian clinicians (35 gynecologists, 35 endocrinologists, 36 oncologists, 35 breast surgeons and 35 general practitioners (GPs)) involved in the care of women with breast cancer. This questionnaire study utilized an index case to assess understanding of early menopause diagnosis and management. Analysis involved descriptive statistics, ? 2 tests and Student ? s t -test. Results Signifi cant differences between clinician groups regarding diagnostic criteria for early menopause were observed; gynecologists, endocrinologists and GPs selected amenorrhea 12 months , whereas oncologists and breast surgeons selected elevated serum follicle stimulating hormone level ( p 0.05). Non-hormonal treatment was preferred by most clinician groups. Complementary/alternative medicines were more commonly prescribed by breast surgeons (57 ), gynecologists (54 ) and endocrinologists (49 ) compared to oncologists (28 ) or GPs (9 ) ( p 0.0001). Exercise (63 ) and nutrition (66 ) were selected by most gynecologists for treatment of hot fl ushes, whereas endocrinologists (91 ), oncologists (94 ), breast surgeons (69 ) and GPs (63 ) prescribed venlafaxine. Hormone therapy was mainly prescribed by breast surgeons (43 ) compared to other groups ( p 0.001). Most clinicians reported that the main problem with menopausal therapies was failure to resolve hot fl ushes. Exercise, lifestyle and stress management were recommended by all clinician groups for treatment of anxiety/depression. Conclusion This exploratory study demonstrated a lack of consensus between clinician groups in their investigation, diagnosis and management of early menopause in women with breast cancer, with implications for both diagnosis and treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479 - 489
Number of pages11
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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