The most common treatment for menopausal symptoms is hormone replacement therapy (HRT) with estrogens and progesterones, the female hormones. However, after breast cancer, we are not sure if these agents are safe. We know that estrogens do cause a slightly increased risk of breast cancer and that in the laboratory, progesterones may stimulate breast cancer cells to grow. We also know that antiestrogens, a class of medications, decrease the risk of breast cancer.
There are concerns that estrogen may cause either a new cancer or your primary cancer to recur. Although this has not been proven and research continues to find the relationship of HRT and breast cancer, most doctors are reluctant to prescribe estrogens to women who have a history of breast cancer.
If a woman has severe symptoms that affect her quality of life, and no other treatments have been effective, HRT may be used on a short term basis on the understanding that there are questions about its safety.
What can you do to ease the symptoms of menopause?
More specifically, if you suffer from:
Many of the symptoms of menopause improve over time. Talk with your doctor about what you can do to make this time of your life easier.
Karen Gelmon, MD
in association with the MediResource Clinical Team
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