Acute Menopausal Symptoms in Young Cancer Survivors Immediately following Chemotherapy

Cameron, K. E.; Kole, M. B.; Sammel, M. D.; Ginsberg, J. P.; Gosiengfiao, Y.; Mersereau, J. E.; Su, H. I.; Gracia, C. R.

Oncology. 2018 Feb 3


PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of menopausal symptoms in young cancer survivors immediately following the completion of chemotherapy. METHODS: This prospective cohort study followed 124 young females with a new diagnosis of cancer requiring chemotherapy to assess symptoms of menopause before treatment and immediately following chemotherapy. Symptoms were compared before and after treatment using the McNemar test and between cancer patients and 133 similar-aged healthy controls using Pearson chi2 and Fisher's exact tests. RESULTS: Participants undergoing cancer therapy reported more menopausal symptoms compared to controls prior to the initiation of any treatment (hot flashes or night sweats 33 vs. 7%, p < 0.01, trouble sleeping 57 vs. 31%, p < 0.01, headaches 50 vs. 35%, p = 0.02, and decreased libido 36 vs. 16%, p < 0.01) and also reported a greater prevalence of symptoms immediately after cancer therapy compared to pretreatment prevalence (vasomotor symptoms, p < 0.01, vaginal dryness, p < 0.01, decreased concentration, p < 0.01, and body aches, p = 0.01). Cancer patients with lower anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) levels after treatment (<0.10 ng/mL) had an increased risk of vasomotor symptoms (OR 2.2, p = 0.04), mood swings (OR 2.4, p = 0.03), feeling sad (OR 2.2, p = 0.04), trouble sleeping (OR 2.7, p = 0.02), and decreased libido (OR 3.0, p = 0.03) when controlled for age and cancer type, and the incidence of these symptoms was not affected by the use of systemic hormones or psychiatric medications. Treatment length, use of alkylating agents, pelvic radiation, and marital status were also not associated with the prevalence of menopausal symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: Premenopausal women with a new cancer diagnosis have more menopausal symptoms than females of similar age before and after cancer treatment, the effects of which are not mitigated by systemic hormone use. Decreased AMH levels were associated with an increased likelihood of reporting physiologic symptoms after therapy. IMPLICATIONS FOR CANCER SURVIVORS: This information is imperative for counseling; ultimately, improved symptom management during and after cancer therapies will improve quality of life in young cancer survivors.

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