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Journal of pain and symptom management


Breast Neoplasms; Female; Humans; Longitudinal Studies; Menopause; Middle Aged; Postoperative Complications; Severity of Illness Index


CONTEXT: Approximately 60% to 100% of women with breast cancer experience at least one menopausal-related symptom. Little is known about associations between menopausal status and symptoms in women 12 months after breast cancer surgery.

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to evaluate for differences in occurrence, severity, and distress of symptoms between pre- and postmenopausal women 12 months after breast cancer surgery.

METHODS: Women with breast cancer (n = 327) completed the Menopausal Symptoms Scale, which evaluated the occurrence, severity, and distress of 46 common menopausal-related symptoms. Regression analyses were used to evaluate between-group differences in the seven symptoms that occurred in 30% and more of the sample (i.e., hot flashes, night sweats, depression, daytime sweats, joint pain or stiffness, wake during the night, and numbness or tingling).

RESULTS: Of the 327 patients with breast cancer, who completed the 12-month assessment, 35.2% were premenopausal and 64.8% were postmenopausal before surgery. In the conditional models, when significant interactions were found, the differences in symptom occurrence rates between pre- and postmenopausal patients depended on their age.

CONCLUSION: Regardless of menopausal status, women reported relatively high occurrence rates for several menopausal symptoms. Associations between symptom occurrence rates and menopausal status depended on the patient's age. During the development of a survivorship care plan, clinicians need to assess symptom burden within the context of a woman's menopausal status and salient demographic and clinical characteristics. This approach will assist with the prescription of more effective interventions.

Clinical Institute


Clinical Institute

Women & Children