Hot flashes in breast cancer survivors and an association with calcium supplement use
Gretchen Kimmick1,2, Gloria Broadwater2, Mara Vitolins3
1Medical Oncology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem; 2Cancer Center Biostatistics, Duke University Medical Center, Durham; 3Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA
Aims: In breast cancer survivors, we aimed to describe the frequency of hot flashes and night sweats, frequency and type of treatment, and the association of hot flashes and use of calcium supplements.
Methods: Charts of breast cancer survivors were reviewed for information about hot flashes, treatment for hot flashes, and calcium supplementation. Associations between variables were explored using the Chi-square test and Fisher’s Exact test.
Results: Eighty-six charts were reviewed. Mean age of the women was 58 years and 79% were postmenopausal. Forty-two (49%) of women had hot flashes and 18 (21%) had night sweats. Thirty-one (36%) were treated for hot flashes. Treatment included selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors/serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (n = 19), clonidine (n = 7), Bellergal-S® (n = 8), sleep-aid (n = 7), and other (n = 5). Calcium supplementation was recorded in 31%. Of women with hot flashes, 44% took calcium supplements; of women without hot flashes, 18% took calcium supplements (Chi-square P = 0.02).
Conclusion: Hot flashes were recorded in 49% of this group of primarily postmenopausal breast cancer survivors. Women with hot flashes were more likely to be taking calcium supplements. Further exploration of the association between hot flashes and calcium supplementation is warranted.
Keywords: hot flashes, breast cancer, calcium supplementation
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