Just before her 40th birthday, Caroline was given the unexpected diagnosis of breast cancer. The grueling treatments brought on the menopause and she endured a miserable seven years as a 'functional wreck'. Nine years on, Caroline reflects on this experience. She describes her search for help for the awful menopausal symptoms that were making her feel so unlike her usual, outgoing self and shares how she came to the decision to take HRT, despite being surrounded by advice to the contrary. Dr Newson outlines the complex and little understood relationship between breast cancer and estrogen, and reminds listeners that once accurate information is shared, the choice about menopause treatments after breast cancer ultimately belongs to the individual.
Caroline's three tips:
- Keep an honest record of how you are really feeling and look back on it. If you notice menopausal symptoms and you're just getting through the day, see your doctor. If they suggest antidepressants, don't agree straight away, find out more about how effective they are for menopausal women.
- Talk to someone who specialises in the menopause, even better, someone who treats menopausal women who've had breast cancer. Then you know you're getting gold standard information.
- Don't beat yourself up if all you're worried about is the cancer coming back. It's normal to feel like that. But also allow yourself the possibility of a better, brighter future. You need to know there is hope and help out there - you deserve it.