Skip Navigation LinksHome > August 2012 - Volume 19 - Issue 8 > Breast cancer and menopause: partners’ perceptions and pers...
Menopause:
doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e318246ab45
Original Articles

Breast cancer and menopause: partners’ perceptions and personal experiences—a pilot study

Sayakhot, Padaphet MHS, MCE, MBBS1,2; Vincent, Amanda PhD, FRACP, MBBS1,3; Teede, Helena PhD, FRACP, MBBS1,4

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Abstract

Objective: The aim of this study was to describe the partners’ perceptions, understanding, and personal experiences of early menopause and menopausal therapy in women with breast cancer.

Methods: A questionnaire study was completed by 50 partners of women with diagnoses of breast cancer, recruited via outpatient clinics and the community. Descriptive statistics and χ2 tests were applied.

Results: Most (68%) of the partners perceived hot flushes as the meaning of menopause. Most (60%) partners perceived that loss of sexuality was the key problem/fears about being menopausal. Partners perceived that exercise (72%) and reducing stress (64%) were most effective in alleviating symptoms of menopause. Most partners reported that they did not understand the risks/benefits of hormone therapy (50%), bioidentical hormones (90%), and herbal therapies (84%). The general practitioner was considered the best source of information on menopause (68%). Partners expected menopause to affect a women’s everyday life and relationships with family and partner and, particularly, to cause intermittent stress on the relationship (66%) and to decrease libido or sexual interest (64%). Forty-four percent of partners reported that there was some difficulty in communication/discussion about menopause with family and partners.

Conclusions: This pilot study highlights (1) the lack of understanding of menopause and menopausal therapies that partners of women with breast cancer have, (2) the personal experience of having a female partner with breast cancer, and (3) the partners’ attitudes and responses toward menopause in women with breast cancer.

©2012The North American Menopause Society

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