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- Open Access
Menopause appearance as a risk factor for psychological disorders in breast cancer
© The Author(s) 2006
Published: 28 February 2006
A significant percentage (25%) of women suffering from breast cancer, are diagnosed to have a kind of anxiety disorder or depression during the first two years after treatment. It is usual phenomenon for busy surgeons to evaluate those women as having a normal physiological reaction and the medical advice of a psychiatrist is frequently not asked. However, 5% of women who are examined by psychiatrists suffer from psychiatric disorders that need the help of an expert.
A 51 years old -woman, smoker and overweight (BMI: 26), mother of a girl 15 years old, having entered the pre-menopausal period, was examined in a mammography program of regional organization. The mammography's and following needle biopsy's findings were positive for malignant tumour, an adenocarcinoma. The patient accepted to follow the treatment and underwent a modified mastectomy and complementary post surgical actinotherapy and hormonotherapy as well. Three months after the operation the quality of patient's life had dramatically been influenced, but was evaluated as a normal reaction at start. She abandoned her occupation, she was devoting too many hours to sleep and she had no time for her usual activities, such as reading. She lost about 8 kg, and had asked and managed to have numerous diagnostic controls without any real pathological disorders. Her sexual life changed dramatically and she did not follow the treatment directions. Due to the fear for breast cancer in the remnant breast had reported ideas for suicide. When she eventually visited a psychiatrist, a major depressive episode was diagnosed and anti-depressive therapy and psychotherapy were recommended. After 3 months, the same woman, had already started to hope for a definite cure and taking care of her problem. She conformed to the treatment, started to follow a regional sport program and came closer to her husband and child.
Women with breast cancer do not face only the danger of a possible death-bringing disease but a serious amputation as well. Factors such as menopause may lead to serious psychological disorders.
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