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Menopause. 2020 Feb 17. doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000001507. [Epub ahead of print]

Changes in hot flash experiences and related factors in women with breast cancer.

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Graduate Institute of Clinical Medical Sciences, College of Medicine, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan, Taiwan.
Division of Medical Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Linkou Branch, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan.
School of Nursing, College of Medicine, Chang Gung University, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan.
Department of General Surgery, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital at Linkou, Taoyuan, Taiwan.
Department of Nursing, Chang Gung University of Science and Technology, Tao-Yuan, Taiwan.



Taiwanese women are younger than women in western countries when diagnosed with breast cancer, and many of them are still menstruating. One of many distressing side effects reported by premenopausal women treated for breast cancer are hot flashes (HFs). The purposes of this study were to identify: (1) the trajectories of hot flash (HF) occurrence, frequency, and interference and (2) potential factors associated with HF changes.


Peri- or premenopausal women newly diagnosed with breast cancer scheduled to receive chemotherapy and hormonal therapy were enrolled. HF frequency, HF interference, and other symptoms were measured six times from prechemotherapy to 24 months after chemotherapy. Data were analyzed using hierarchical linear modeling.


A total of 90 women were eligible for the study. The prechemotherapy occurrence rate of HFs was 7.9%, but rapidly increased to 42.5% immediately after chemotherapy. The change curve of HF frequency and interference appeared quadratic, increasing first and slightly decreasing later. At any time point, increased body mass index (BMI) was associated with both higher HF frequency (P = 0.020) and HF interference (P = 0.002), whereas anxiety (P < 0.001) and loss of sexual desire (P = 0.038) were associated with higher HF interference. Six months after completing chemotherapy, premenopausal women reported significantly higher HF frequency than perimenopausal women (P = 0.041).


A significant proportion of pre- and perimenopausal women experienced HFs after receiving breast cancer treatment. Our findings on HF trajectories can educate patients newly diagnosed with breast cancer. Special attention should be paid to those with increased body mass index changes and those still regularly menstruating.

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