Menopause Symptoms After Cancer clinic

The Menopause Symptoms After Cancer (MSAC) clinic cares for women with menopausal symptoms and a history of cancer. From left: Head of menopause services Professor Martha Hickey and psychiatrist Dr Christina Bryant.
23 October 2013 | Cancer | Gynaecology

The Women's established the Menopause Symptoms After Cancer (MSAC) clinic in 2010 specifically to care for women with menopausal symptoms and a history of cancer. It is the only clinic in Victoria where menopause, mental health and cancer are treated together.

MSAC Clinic Director, Professor Martha Hickey, explained that menopausal symptoms can be a frequent and distressing effect of cancer treatments.

"Our experience and research shows us that cancer survivors had more severe and frequent menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes and night sweats, than other people being treated for menopause," she said.

These symptoms are often very challenging and unexpected, particularly for women who have undergone cancer treatment at a young age and have experienced a treatment-induced menopause. Cancer treatment may also exacerbate pre-existing menopausal symptoms.

Due to the complex nature of a cancer diagnosis and the risk of recurrence, many of the patients seen in the MSAC clinic require multidisciplinary help. Each woman’s program is tailored for her needs so she sees a team which includes gynaecologists, surgical and medical oncologists, endocrinologists, fertility specialists, sexual counsellors, the Centre for Women’s Mental Health staff and specialist nurses.

Kylie Barton (MSAC Clinical Nurse Co-ordinator) said, “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.”