Managing menopause symptoms after cancer
Menopausal symptoms are a common consequence of cancer treatment for many women. These symptoms are often very challenging and unexpected, particularly for women who have undergone treatment at a young age and have experienced a treatment-induced menopause. Cancer treatment may also exacerbate pre-existing menopausal symptoms.
The Women’s Menopause Symptoms After Cancer (MSAC) clinic was established by Professor Martha Hickey in 2010, to care for women with menopausal symptoms and a history of cancer. This clinic is the second of its kind in Australia and is the only clinic in Victoria where menopause, mental health and cancer care co-exist.
The clinic provides specific advice and individualised care for women. This involves education and evidence-based advice on symptom management as well as referral to specialist services to help women reduce symptoms and improve their quality of life.
Due to the complex nature of a cancer diagnosis and the risk of recurrence, many of the patients seen in this clinic require multidisciplinary help. Each woman’s program is tailored to her needs and she sees a team which includes gynaecologists, surgical and medical oncologists, endocrinologists, fertility specialists, sexual health counsellors, the Centre for Women’s Mental Health staff and specialist nurses.
Kylie Barton (MSAC Clinical Nurse Coordinator) says, “Women who come to us are thankful to be able to sit and talk about something that is not widely discussed. Our aim is to help them with a plan that will reduce their symptoms and work for them so that they can carry on with their lives – whether that is returning to work, maintaining a relationship or dealing with day-to-day family life.”