New Guidelines for breast cancer survivors have been published in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Even after the complete treatment of breast cancer, the survivors are concerned with some common health issues such as fertility, birth control, menopause, body image issues, sexual concerns, vaginal dryness and bone health. These effects can be short-term or long-term and the recently issued guidelines offer solutions to all these concerns.
The recently issued guidelines are:
• The breast cancer survivors can safely use birth control methods such as condoms and diaphragms, the copper IUD and sterilization.
• Women, who have experienced menopause, need not have routine biopsy or ultrasound if they do not bleed even after taking cancer drug, tamoxifen.
• After breast cancer, pregnancy does not possess any risk of recurrence of the cancer.
• Young survivors of breast cancer, who want to conceive, must consult a fertility specialist. Their eggs may also be freezed before the treatment begins.
• If there are some bone health issues, it is recommended to take drugs meant for the preservation of bones. They possess no health risks.
• Vaginal dryness may become one major cause of sexual dissatisfaction, therefore, it is safe to use vaginal lubricants, but make sure they are free of hormones.
• Cancer drugs cause hot flashes and inflammation in the body, therefore, you can use antidepressants to relieve them.
These guidelines are equally helpful to Obstetrician / Gynecologist of breast cancer survivors as treating the side effects of this catastrophic cancer will become easier with the new guidelines. For proper and effective treatment of side effects, it is advisable that survivors inform their physicians about the treatment they had for breast cancer and the problems they are facing post treatment.
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