In a new study, women who received this type of psychotherapy, generally known as cognitive behavioral therapy, had reduced their symptoms by half within a few months.
“Hot flashes and sweating are distressing symptoms, which cause social embarrassment and sleep problems, and they are challenging treat, for women who also have breast cancer” because HRT is generally not advised for these women, explained lead researcher Myra Hunter.
According to history inside the study, and that is published in the Feb. 15 online edition on the Lancet Oncology, 65 percent to 85 percent of females have hot flashes after breast cancer treatment.
Group cognitive behavioral remedies are a secure and effective treatment for female with hot flashes and sweating following breast cancer treatment, Hunter said, with additional benefits to mood, sleep and quality of life.
“The women in this trial reported frequent and problematic symptoms and relatively inferior of life,” said Hunter, a professor of clinical health psychology at King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry.
Hunter’s team randomly assigned 96 girls that ended up treated for breast cancers and suffered with sweating and menopausal flashes either to “talk therapy” or usual care.
The 47 girls that received the therapy attended weekly 90-minute sessions for six weeks. With the others, usual care was comprised of entry to nurses and oncologists, telephone support and cancer support services, the researchers noted.
The procedure sessions included psycho-education, paced breathing, and behavioral strategies to manage menopausal flashes and night sweats, as well as interactive PowerPoint presentations, conference, handouts and weekly homework, Hunter said.
Also, participants learned how to deal with the stress associated with hot flashes and night sweats, and found new solutions to decrease anxiety, she explained.
The ladies were also taught to control menopausal flashes in social situations and also to understand night sweats and improve sleep habits using mental and behavioral strategies.
The investigators found which the ladies who had received the cognitive behavioral therapy significantly reduced the amount of menopausal flashes and night sweats they experienced inside the nine weeks after the start of study.
This reduction in symptoms lasted for 26 weeks. At nine weeks there was a 46 percent reduction in symptoms as well as a 52 percent reduction at 26 weeks, Hunter’s team found.
However, among women receiving usual care, menopausal flashes and night sweats decreased by 19 percent after nine weeks and 25 % after 26 weeks.
“These reductions were sustained and connected with significant improvements in mood, sleep and quality of life,” Hunter said. “This can be a safe, acceptable and effective treatment option, which can be incorporated into breast cancer survivorship programs and delivered by trained breast cancers nurses.”
Holly Prigerson, director on the Center for Psycho-Oncology and Palliative Care Research on the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, wrote an accompanying journal editorial.
“Menopausal flashes and night sweats are incredibly common, distressing and persistent — women reported being troubled by them on an average of a couple of years after cancers of the breast treatment,” Prigerson said.
She noted the new study provides sound evidence upon which to recommend cognitive behavioral therapy for breast cancers patients affected by these symptoms.
“Adaptations a great online, self-management version with the intervention allows for further flexible scheduling and greater access at potentially more affordable of delivery,” Prigerson said. “Combining the intervention with medications that effectively treat menopausal flashes and sweating might produce the most dramatic effects with reductions in symptoms and also the distress brought on by them.”
Prigerson said this type of therapy might also be familiar with treat postmenopausal women affected by these symptoms.
“Obviously, scientifically, we can’t generalize beyond the sample of ladies who experience menopausal symptoms due to treatment for breast cancers,” she said. “But merely because found that [this therapy] done the distress regarding menopausal flashes and night sweats, then it’d seem gonna generalize to menopausal symptoms experienced outside this context.”
Psychotherapy may ease hot flashes after breast cancer