Breast Ca: Talk Therapy Eases Hot Flashes
For breast cancer survivors, cognitive behavioral therapy may help in coping with vasomotor symptoms, according to a study done at King's College London and published online in "Lancet Oncology." During a randomized trial, six weekly group therapy sessions in addition to traditional treatment reduced by a significant percentage the women's perceptions of how troubling their night sweats and hot flashes were. According to MedPage Today, lead author Myra Hunter, PhD reported that mood, sleep, and overall quality of life were also enhanced by the cognitive therapy.
"Cognitive behavioral therapy could, therefore, be an important alternative or additional treatment option for patients with breast cancer," Hunter and her colleagues suggested. "The treatment could be incorporated into breast cancer survivorship programs and delivered by trained breast cancer nurses."
Between 65% and 85% of women experience hot flashes and night sweats after breast cancer treatment so Hunter's findings could be important for a large number of patients. The King's College trial had 96 women who suffered from at least 10 episodes of night sweats or hot flashes per week and which they rated as "problematic." Three weeks after the end of the therapy sessions, the "problematic" ratings showed 46% improvement with the cognitive therapy intervention compared to only 19% with usual care alone.
The researchers warned, however, that their results were based on subjective reports by the participants and also may have been compromised by the effects of the use of adjuvant hormone therapy and drugs as well as by the fact that some of the participants were menopausal.