Menopause and oncological history

In patients with a history of cancer, menopause can be a time to be taken with even greater attention. Here’s why and what the consequences can be.

This article was written in collaboration with our medical staff

When in the personal history of a woman there has been an encounter with a tumor, something changes. Change the strength in dealing with life and the things of life, change the attitude, change the awareness that the mind can do a lot for the body.

Thus the transition from fertile life to menopause can also change .

Menopause may have been induced due to therapies necessary for the treatment of the tumor and therefore may have arrived earlier, in a different, more sudden and unexpected way.

Differences between induced and physiological menopause

The set of disorders that characterize premature menopause due to oncological treatments is not very different from those that are perceived during physiological menopause .

However, the sudden loss of reproductive capacity and the possible onset, equally sudden, of some intimate disorders such as vaginal dryness and dyspareunia that affect sexual activity and therefore on the life of a couple, can catch many women unprepared: we are talking about many ailments but not of those who know each other less, hide, omit, perhaps out of confidentiality, shame, lack of preparation (sometimes).

In these cases, a visit to the gynecologist and at the same time a reflection on the need for psychological support to overcome any inconvenience in the couple’s life may be useful .

What to do when menopause comes after an oncological pathology

What happens is that menopause must be managed with greater attention and caution because attention to the balance of hormones is even more important .

Hormones, in fact, can play an active role in the development of some tumors and for this reason, for example, some treatments to relieve menopausal disorders are to be excluded because they can increase the risk of relapse.

However, there are other ways that your trusted gynecologist or an experienced menopausal gynecologist  can explain to you after a visit.

In any case, oncologists agree in entrusting lifestyle to a fundamental role in the management of menopause and its disorders in women who have suffered from carcinoma: smoking, overweight, sedentary lifestyle, improper diet, habits of alcohol consumption, are already in itself important risk factors for the development of a tumor, but even more so after fighting a similar disease they must be removed as soon as possible by adopting a healthy lifestyle.

Menopause after cancer therapy: beware of …

We have already said – and we repeat – that menopausal disorders are no different between women who have had a physiological menopause and women who have entered the non-fertile phase of life for a therapeutic need.

However, some scientific studies have shown the higher incidence of the typical symptoms of Vulvo Vaginal Atrophy , a chronic and progressive condition that can make it difficult to manage intimacy: 60-70% of sexually active women who are induced menopause “reports disorders of sexual function , with a reduction in libido and in the number of intimate relationships, the presence of pain during intercourse (30-40%) and consequent impact on couple intimacy “, as stated in the press release of an awareness initiative hosted in the 2017 by the Senate and promoted by the National Observatory on Women’s and Gender Health.

“ Unfortunately AVV is still an underestimated and underdiagnosed pathology : 63% of women do not know that it is a chronic condition destined to worsen with the passage of time; 75% expect doctors to start the discussion on menopausal symptoms and sexual health, but the data collected suggests that this occurs in only 11% of cases – says  Rossella Nappi , Associate Professor of the Department of Clinical Sciences, Surgical, Diagnostic and Pediatric University of Pavia, Obstetrics and Gynecological Clinic, IRCCS Policlinico S. Matteo and member of the Board of the International Menopause Society (IMS) – This is also the case for women who have an oncological history behind them and for Whichpremature menopause can have an even stronger impact especially at a young age. ”

“It is important – adds  Francesca Merzagora , President of Onda, National Observatory on Women’s Health – to encourage women to communicate their discomfort – even emotional – to their gynecologist , something that does not happen very often today”.


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