Hot flashes in postmenopausal women treated for breast carcinoma: prevalence, severity, correlates, management, and relation to quality of life

Cancer. 1998 May 1;82(9):1682-91.


Background: Research on hot flashes (HFs) after the diagnosis and treatment of breast carcinoma (BC) is scarce. To our knowledge, this research represents the second study of HF prevalence and severity in women with BC and the first study of 1) correlates of HF prevalence and severity, 2) use of HF management strategies, and 3) the relation between HFs and quality of life (QOL) among women with BC.

Methods: Eligible women (n = 136) participated in structured telephone interviews.

Results: Of the 114 postmenopausal women interviewed, 65% reported HFs, with 59% of women with HFs (n = 74) rating the symptom as severe. Multivariate analysis revealed that 1) HFs were most common in women with a high school education or less and those who were younger at diagnosis and 2) HFs were most severe in women with a higher body mass index, those who were younger at diagnosis, and those receiving tamoxifen. Among women with HFs, 37% were not using any HF management strategies and 63% expressed interest in learning more regarding > or = 1 strategy. HFs marginally were related to decreased mental and physical QOL using the SF-12 Health Survey (P < 0.10).

Conclusions: The results of the current study significantly contribute to knowledge regarding HFs in women with BC and support the need for carefully controlled clinical trials evaluating interventions for relieving HFs in this population.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breast Neoplasms / chemically induced*
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy
  • Female
  • Hot Flashes / complications*
  • Hot Flashes / epidemiology
  • Hot Flashes / therapy
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Postmenopause / physiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life