Posted: Thursday, February 4th, 2021

 

Menopause and Breast Cancer

 

 Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women globally.

In Ireland one in nine women will develop breast cancer in the course of their lifetime.

Some statistics and data

3,100 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed each year in Ireland with approximately 50,000  each year in the U.K.

  • 30% of women are diagnosed between the ages of 20-50 years.
  • 34% of women are diagnosed between 50 and 69 years.
  • 36% of women diagnosed over 70 years.
  • 5-10% of breast cancers are hereditary.

The good news is that survival rates from breast cancer are increasing all of the time, statistics pointing to 85% in Ireland and approximately 90% in the U.K.

Presently in Ireland there is no mandatory information booklet or education manual available for women who become menopausal post treatment. This needs to be addressed given that 64% of women are diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 69 years. I have met many of these women, who have told me how isolating and lonely it can be and have endured, unsupported with debilitating symptoms for many years.

Every woman experience’s menopause differently. Thus, the need for an individualized approach to care and management.

The research points to 25% or 1 in 4 of us today having symptoms that negatively impact on our lives. Post breast cancer treatment this is far higher.

When considering management pathways for debilitating menopause symptoms, there are normally two pathways dependent upon whether you have oestrogen sensitive breast cancer or not.  Natural or hormonal.

 Natural

I must admit when researching breast cancer and menopause. I was surprised by the lack of information available publicly. There are some good natural leaders in the world of naturally navigating menopause. We had Ilona Madden  from www.rightfood4u.ie,  a nutritional therapist attend one of our recent midlife women rock cafes and share how we can empower ourselves and manage this time in life  using food and supplements.

Other great leaders in the natural menopause field are  Nicki Williams www.happyhormonesforlife.com Maryon Stewart  www.maryonstewart.com Nigel Denby at www.hormonehealth.co.uk and  Dr Marilyn Glenville. www.marilynglenville.com . They have very informative websites and podcasts on non medical ways to manage symptoms. Its all about finding the right fit for you.

Hormonal

For those who have symptoms that are adversely affecting your quality of life and may not have responded to natural management.(I dont believe we should have to suffer post breast cancer) It is worth reading, listening, watching some very reputable podcasts and you tube educational clips available on line at  www.the menopause doctor.co.uk   Dr Louise Newson in the U.K. has research backed information on HRT and breast cancer.

It is all about balancing quality of life and risk factors, empowering women with factual information and choice in order to live their best lives. Women to women support groups, sharing stories, is another initiative that would be of great benefit to  women post surgery. If any one knows of any in Ireland would you please send on to me.

Some women report that Covid 19 has added another  dimension to accessing supports for breast cancer this past year.

Both breast cancer Ireland and UK advocate for physical activity and lifestyle change. Many of the women I have met in menopause post breast cancer have re prioritized their health and wellbeing, making self-care non-negotiable. Finding exercise that one enjoys is key at midlife, drop perfection, start off small, and be sure to laugh and have fun!!!

 

 

 

What women are saying

  • Now that I have the knowledge, language and confidence to speak openly about menopause, it changes everything

    Angie Co. Cork

  • Silence afflicts too many women's lives – the silence that keeps women from expressing themselves freely, from being full participants even in the lives of their own families

    Hillary Rodham Clinton 1995

  • I highly recommend this 6-week course to any woman wanting to understand menopause and themselves. I personally found it brilliant. It gave me back my confidence in myself. I met a group of open-minded women. There is nowhere women can go to talk with other women about this time in our lives. I have learned not to let menopause define me. I always had thought of it negatively, would never have seen it as a time to open up to new possibilities and opportunities. Breeda covers everything you need to know over the 6 weeks.”

    Anna

  • This programme has helped me become more relaxed and empowered around menopause. I have a great GP and am taking HRT. It’s the information sharing with a group of like-minded women that is very powerful at this time of my life. The course was shared by Breeda in a fun and light-hearted way which reduces any stress or anxiety that one may have. I now have a better understanding of myself with lots of strategies to manage symptoms and would highly recommend this course.”

    Jennifer

  • I would highly recommend this 6-week course. I received so much support from Breeda and the group. It gave me the confidence to move forward. I learned about the physical, mental and spiritual changes that occur during menopause and it all made so much sense. My relationship with myself has grown and I understand so much more now. I feel positive and very optimistic about the future.

    Sinead

  • Attending this 6 week course was a hugely empowering experience. knowledge and education is certainly power. Meeting other women all in the same phase of life supporting one another was fantastic. I learned I have the power and strength to tackle, control and handle my menopause journey my way. I would hghly recommend this course so much. It has enabked me to move forward.

    Gay

  • Before I met Breeda and started this course, I never had a serious conversation about menopause with anyone. I had very little knowledge about menopause. It is either an embarrassing or a comical subject for conversation. Attending the cafes and 6-week course has been life changing. I now know so much more about menopause and understand myself so much better. I have become more pro-active with my health and am looking forward to the next phase of my life. Every woman deserves this information.

    Elaine

  • Breeda has a great way of imparting information. I really enjoyed the 6-week programme and would highly recommend it to any woman who may be curious about what menopause is really all about.

    Ger

Scroll to top