World Bulletin / News Desk
Younger women who are thrust into menopause because of breast cancer treatment may get some relief from talk therapy and regular exercise, according to a study from the Netherlands.
Menopause symptoms such as hot flashes often come on gradually for women who go through natural menopause, as the body's production of hormones slowly dwindles. But that's not often the case for women diagnosed with breast cancer and treated with chemotherapy and other potent drugs.
"Oftentimes with women with breast cancer who experience treatment-induced menopause, the symptoms are much more severe than in natural menopause," said Neil Aaronson from The Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam, who worked on the study.
In addition, those women can't take replacement hormones to ease the symptoms, an effective but controversial treatment for menopause-related symptoms, since the hormones can put them at risk for a cancer recurrence.
For the study, which appeared in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Aaronson and his colleagues randomly assigned 422 women with breast cancer and treatment-induced menopause to one of four groups.
One group went to six weekly therapy sessions, another consulted with physiotherapists and started tailored exercise programs, a third did both therapy and exercise and the final group was put on a waitlist.
The type of group treatment, known as cognitive behavioral therapy, included relaxation exercises and addressed symptoms as well as body image and sexuality issues.
Six months later, women in the talk therapy, exercise and combined groups reported an improvement in treatment-related symptoms, each gaining about five points on a 73-point scale compared to fewer than two points among waitlisters.
Women who'd had therapy also said they were bothered less by their hot flashes and night sweats, though they had them just as often.
"With the cognitive behavioral therapy, we were primarily targeting the subjective experience of the symptoms, and helping women to cope with the symptoms," Aaronson told Reuters Health.
For women who have been treated for breast cancer and have menopause-related symptoms, antidepressants and other medications may also offer some help. But by that point, Aaronson said, many women aren't interested in taking any more drugs or dealing with any more potential side effects.
He and his colleagues are working on translating the therapy sessions into an online program that people can do on their own time.
"More research is needed on behavioral interventions such as relaxation therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy to understand more about how these things are helpful and for whom," said Debra Barton from the Mayo Clinic, who co-wrote an editorial accompanying the article.
"However, so far the data appear very promising."
UN reports cases of Ebola virus disease 'in an urban center' that killed 25 so far
In a statement, the UN agency said WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus would convene an emergency committee to discuss the matter.
Following is a recap of past epidemics of Ebola as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) battles a new outbreak of the deadly tropical disease:
In the absence of rules, travel agencies offer trips to the region on boats sometimes equipped with helicopters or submarines, according to Segolene Royal, French ambassador for the Arctic and Antarctic poles.
Three health care workers among 19 deaths, World Health Organization says
World Health Organization concerned about potential regional spread of deadly virus
Doctors Worldwide provides orthopaedic training to health personnel
People suffering from advanced cardiac or pulmonary insufficiency to benefit from device made at university in Izmir
The 12-day technical talks are focused on hammering out an "operating manual" for the landmark 2015 Paris climate pact, which calls for capping global warming at "well below" two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), and 1.5C if possible.
Some 165,000 people died due to circulatory system diseases in 2017, according to country's statistical authority
There were some 216 million cases of malaria worldwide in 2016, an increase of five million from the year before, according to the World Health Organization.
Cataract surgeries project to be expanded in scope to include fight against fistula
Turkey to create an automatic control system to keep records of African patients, Health Ministry official says
Ibb and al-Hodeidah provinces are the hardest-hit by the disease
Association of the Friends of Africa provides health and humanitarian services all over the African continent
Food and Agriculture Organization representative praises professionalism of Turkish government