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Facilitating lifestyle changes to manage menopausal symptoms in women with breast cancer

a randomized controlled pilot trial of The Pink Women's Wellness Program

Anderson, Debra J. PhD1; Seib, Charrlotte PhD1; McCarthy, Alexandra L. PhD1,2; Yates, Patsy PhD1; Porter-Steele, Janine MNS3; McGuire, Amanda MNS1; Young, Leonie3

doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000421
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Objective: Women diagnosed as having breast cancer may experience difficulties with posttreatment effects such as menopausal symptoms. The aims of this pilot study were to (1) evaluate the impact of a multimodal lifestyle program on reducing menopausal symptoms in women with breast cancer and (2) examine the impact of the program on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and adherence to lifestyle recommendations.

Methods: Overall, 55 women aged 45 to 60 years with one moderate to severe menopausal symptom and a history of breast cancer were randomized into an intervention group (n = 26) or a control group (n = 29). Women in the intervention group received a lifestyle intervention (The Pink Women's Wellness Program) that included clinical consultations and a tailored health education program. Measurements of menopausal symptoms (Greene Climacteric Scale), HRQoL (SF-12 and Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy—Breast), and modifiable lifestyle factors (food intake, physical activity, smoking and alcohol use, and sleep disturbance) were taken at baseline and 12 weeks.

Results: Women in the intervention group reported clinically significant reductions in many menopausal symptoms, specifically somatic symptoms (d = 0.52), vasomotor symptoms (d = 0.55), sexual dysfunction (d = 0.65), and overall menopausal symptoms (d = 0.54), at 12 weeks compared with the control group (d = 0.03, d = 0.24, d = 0.18, and d = 0.05, respectively). Women in the intervention group reported improvements in Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy—Breast subscale scores, physical well-being and functional well-being, and Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy—General total scores (intervention group: d = 0.54, d = 0.50, and d = 0.48, respectively; control group: d = 0.22, d = 0.11, and d = 0.05, respectively).

Conclusions: The Pink Women's Wellness Program is effective in decreasing menopausal symptoms, thus improving HRQoL. This being a pilot study, further research is recommended to investigate the benefits of combining nonpharmacological interventions for women with breast cancer to reduce their treatment-related menopausal symptoms.

1Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

2Division of Cancer Services, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, Australia

3Kim Walters Choices Program, Brisbane, Australia.

Address correspondence to: Debra J. Anderson, PhD, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Musk Ave, Kelvin Grove, Queensland 4059, Australia. E-mail: dj.anderson@qut.edu.au

Received 31 August, 2014

Revised 1 December, 2014

Accepted 1 December, 2014

Funding/support: This study was supported by the Cancer Council Queensland.

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: None reported.

© 2015 by The North American Menopause Society.