When you get diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age, you receive a significant amount of information about survival, surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation. But, you may not get a lot of information about early menopause, which can occur as a result of that chemotherapy. Induced menopause isn’t exactly the same as “natural” menopause, and there are some unique issues regarding fertility, sexuality and treatment of menopausal symptoms that arise in young women with breast cancer.
Induced menopause happens much more quickly than “natural” menopause, as the chemotherapy disrupts the normal function of your ovaries. Because the change in hormone levels is so sudden, the symptoms of induced menopause tend to be more severe than those experienced by women going through natural menopause due to age. Symptoms can include hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness or irritation, mood changes and sleep disturbances, among others. Of course we can’t use traditional hormone replacement therapy to alleviate these symptoms, but, the good news is, there are other ways we can safely help.
A major issue with induced menopause is loss of fertility, but, thankfully, in this day and age, we can do something about that! The natural decline in fertility that occurs with age varies wildly among women, and I’ve had many patients sadly surprised to find themselves unable to get pregnant (even with fertility treatments) in their late 30s. It never dawned on them that their ovarian function might already be decreasing, and, by the time they tried to get pregnant, it was too late. When you KNOW your ovaries are going to shut down on a specific time frame due to chemotherapy, the reproductive endocrinologists can now harvest eggs prior to this and store them for later use, which is pretty amazing.
I’m going to talk about all this and more on Thursday, August 16, during a webinar about early menopause for YSC. I’ll discuss what it’s all about, what to expect and what you can do about it. The most important thing to know is that we CAN do something about it — talk to your ob/gyn before you start your chemotherapy or if you are experiencing any menopausal symptoms — we’re ready to help you!
Beyond the Hot Flash: What To Know About Early Menopause
Thursday, August 16
8:00–9:00 p.m. ET
Link to register: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/827527064
Or call: 877.YSC.1011 (877.972.1011)