Younger and older women's concerns about menopause after breast cancer.Eur J Cancer Care (Engl) 2011; 20(6):785-94EJ
A number of treatments for breast cancer induce menopause. This study's aim was to explore women's perceptions and beliefs about menopausal symptoms and their management following breast cancer, and to compare younger and older women's experiences. Data were collected via semi-structured focus groups from women who had undergone treatment for breast cancer, and who were currently experiencing menopausal symptoms. Data were interpreted by way of simple inductive thematic analysis. The women experienced a range of menopausal symptoms that they were not prepared for and found difficult to manage. The central themes related to their lack of knowledge of how to manage menopausal symptoms, and the distress and helplessness that arose from this. Women who were diagnosed prior to 40 years of age reported additional menopausal issues than women who were older at diagnosis. The women in this study expressed a thirst for information related to menopause after breast cancer. The women identified that their needs with regard to menopause after breast cancer were not being met, either through their own lack of knowledge or via conflicting or absent support and management. The importance of enabling women to deal with menopausal symptoms was a central theme to emerge from the data.