Skip Navigation LinksHome > July/August 2007 - Volume 30 - Issue 4 > The Experience of Hot Flushes After Breast Cancer
Cancer Nursing:
doi: 10.1097/01.NCC.0000281731.95113.a3
Articles

The Experience of Hot Flushes After Breast Cancer

Fenlon, D. R. PhD, RGN; Rogers, A. E. MSc

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Abstract

As survival from breast cancer increases, there is a corresponding rise in the number of women living with the long-term consequences of its treatment. Distressing menopausal hot flushes occur in many of these women. This article reports on interviews conducted with 8 women, exploring the experience of hot flushes after breast cancer. Women's accounts of hot flushes varied from being a mild sensation to an intensely unpleasant sensation affecting the whole body and accompanied by drenching perspiration. Flushes affected all aspects of the women's lives, including sleeping, clothing, social situations, intimate relationships, and ability to work. Emotionally, women talked about being out of control. Having cancer and menopause simultaneously made it more difficult for the women to cope, and cancer treatment could cause flushing. The women used many strategies to help relieve their difficulties. Some resorted to hormone replacement therapy, whereas others turned to herbal medications and other alternative interventions such as acupuncture. Most women adopted behavioral strategies to try to regain control. Ultimately, they found that control was gained by attitude of mind. Cognitive behavioral techniques may enhance the sense of control and contribute to coping during hot flushes.

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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