Behavioral Therapy Safe and Effective for Hot Flashes

Significant improvement observed after education and strategies to manage problem

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Women who develop problematic hot flashes after breast cancer treatment, where hormone replacement therapy is contraindicated, see significant improvement in quality of life after receiving behavioral therapy, according to a study published online Feb. 15 in The Lancet Oncology.

Eleanor Mann, D.Phil., from King's College London, and colleagues randomly assigned 96 women who had developed hot flashes and night sweats (HFNS; at least 10 episodes per week) after breast cancer treatment to either usual care or usual care plus group cognitive behavioral therapy. Group therapy consisted of one 90-minute session per week for six weeks, offering education about HFNS and cognitive and behavioral strategies to manage the problem.

The researchers found that women who received cognitive behavioral therapy had significantly reduced HFNS problem ratings, with a reduction in average scores of 46 percent after nine weeks and 52 percent after 26 weeks. In contrast, women who received usual care had reductions of only 19 and 25 percent, respectively. There were no adverse events related to the therapy noted.

"Group cognitive behavioral therapy seems to be a safe and effective treatment for women who have problematic HFNS after breast cancer treatment, with additional benefits to mood, sleep, and quality of life," Mann and colleagues conclude.

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