(HealthDay News) – Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and physical exercise improve endocrine and urinary symptoms as well as physical functioning in patients with breast cancer treatment-induced menopause.

Saskia F.A. Duijts, PhD, of the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam, and colleagues conducted a randomized, controlled, multicenter study involving 422 patients with breast cancer to determine the efficacy of using CBT and physical exercise to alleviate treatment-induced menopausal symptoms. A total of 109 women were assigned to CBT, 104 to physical exercise, 106 to CBT and physical exercise, and 103 were a wait-list control group.

The researchers found that patients in the intervention groups had significantly reduced levels of endocrine and urinary symptoms compared with control patients, as well as improved physical functioning. The perceived burden of hot flashes and night sweats and sexual activity were significantly lower in those groups receiving CBT. These effects occurred by the 12-week follow-up as well as the six-month follow-up.

“In conclusion, our findings indicate that both CBT and physical exercise can have salutary effects on menopausal symptoms and to a lesser degree on sexuality and health-related quality-of-life-related functioning among patients with breast cancer experiencing treatment-induced menopause,” the authors write. “Future work is needed to improve the design and the planning of these interventions, with an eye toward improving program adherence.”

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