Menopause comes as a shock for nearly a third of people who experience early onset menopause caused by cancer treatment.
New research, carried out by cancer support charity Maggie’s, shows that 30% of people diagnosed with cancer weren’t aware that their treatment could cause early menopause, and many find the symptoms of menopause worse than their cancer treatment.
The survey*, of people who have attended the charity’s menopause workshops, also found that nearly three quarters (73%) of those that were told were given little to no information about early onset menopause. Over half (54%) said that the information they received was just a conversation with a healthcare professional but 78% said they would have preferred more than one form of information.
Maggie’s Manchester Centre Head, Robin Muir, said: “Early onset menopause caused by treatment can be incredibly difficult.  Many people don’t realise that they will experience menopause as a consequence of their treatment, perhaps because they weren’t told or didn’t take in the information as they were so focused on their cancer diagnosis.

“People often describe their menopausal symptoms being as hard to cope with as the cancer itself.

“Then there is the emotional impact – these are often young people who are a long way from a natural menopause. The impact can be far reaching impacting on long term health, intimacy and relationships. It is a huge issue, but we can help.”

Maggie’s has been running menopause workshops online and at some of its centres across the UK for four years after noticing that many people were talking to Maggie’s staff about how challenging they were finding the symptoms of treatment induced early onset menopause alongside their cancer treatment.

Maggie’s Manchester offers on to one support for people with cancer going through menopause. For further information contact or call 0161 641 4848.

Carolyn Harris MP, chair of the APPG on Menopause and menopause campaigner commented: “When I visited Maggie’s recently, I heard that so many women with cancer aren’t prepared for the life altering effects of menopause that their treatment throws them into.

Many said that they ‘crashed’ into the menopause and weren’t sure whether the pain, flushes and mood swings were part of their treatment or something else. Most are also left to cope on their own with no option for HRT and feel like they have no-where to turn.

This is such an important topic to raise awareness on and it’s fantastic to learn that Maggie’s is offering specific support to anyone going through menopause as a result of cancer treatment.”

Maggie’s Chief Executive Dame Laura Lee commented: “It is really shocking that so many people aren’t aware their treatment will cause early onset menopause.

“We know how traumatic an experience this can be for people on top of their cancer diagnosis with people experiencing loss of fertility and a range of debilitating side-effects. It is crucial we shine a spotlight on these issues and that information is more clearly available.”

Liz O’Riordan, former breast cancer surgeon and breast cancer patient commented: “As a breast cancer surgeon I had no idea how hard the menopause was for my patients until I became a patient myself.

We aren’t given specific menopause training and often don’t hear about it from our patients as we only have 5 minutes with them after surgery and then don’t see them again for years. That’s why it is so important that people know that they can come to Maggie’s for safe, trusted, expert advice.”


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