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Dani, a patient advocate for women in menopause after cancer, shares what helped her navigate some of the trickier moments of post-treatment menopause.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer nine years ago at the age of 33. Today, I am a patient advocate for women in menopause after cancer. I want to share from my personal and professional experience so that others can have a more positive experience themselves.
Too many women say they feel they have little to zero support. I hear so many people saying menopause after cancer feels isolating and that they don’t know where to start, or what to do next.
However, by methodically looking at everything we can do - from medical to complementary treatments, to lifestyle changes and community - I do believe that we can make this menopause post-cancer malarkey a more positive one.
So many women feel excluded by the bigger menopause conversation. Treatment options vary to those available for a woman entering menopause naturally - but that doesn’t mean you’re alone.
Speak about your experiences, talk about your symptoms. Share what you’re feeling with other people. You don’t need to bottle it up.
It can be hard knowing if what you are experiencing is cancer or menopause related. But to make a start, become aware of your symptoms and fill in a menopause symptom checker, or make notes on your symptoms every couple of weeks.
A good free app to do so is balance-menopause.
Your GP, oncologist or breast care nurse can do this for you.
NHS menopause specialists have a long wait, but that’s ok. Get on the waiting list and get the ball rolling!
These clinics exist for women like us. You can also be referred outside your catchment area.
You can find NHS or private clinics on the British Menopause Society website.
Many women worry about their long-term health, especially if HRT is not an option.
Bone health, heart health and brain health can be positively impacted by plenty of movement, as well as a healthy and balanced diet.
Don’t think you need to commit to hour-long exercise classes, as even regular walking will help. Something is better than nothing!
It can sometimes feel as if you have no options, that there is nothing you can do. But that’s not true.
Menopause after breast cancer might be more difficult to navigate but, by consistently showing up for yourself, and by continuously asking for help, you can take positive steps to feeling better!
Find more of Dani’s excellent advice via www.healthywholeme.com or @healthywholeme.com on social media.