Managing Patients on Endocrine Therapy: Focus on Quality-of-Life Issues
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PURPOSE: To review the health-related quality of life (QOL) of women treated with adjuvant hormonal therapy. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: To review the limited QOL data from randomized trials of tamoxifen versus placebo and ovarian ablation versus none. To discuss QOL results from randomized trials of aromatase inhibitors compared with tamoxifen or placebo for adjuvant therapy of postmenopausal women with estrogen receptor-positive and/or progesterone receptor-positive breast cancer. RESULTS: QOL is generally good in up to 3 years of follow-up with either tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitors. Vasomotor and sexual complaints remain problematic, however, in only a small proportion of women. There are fewer data regarding the QOL effects of ovarian ablation, which may nonetheless be more substantial. CONCLUSION: Tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors cause specific vasomotor or gynecologic symptoms, which may affect sexual function. However, clinical benefits of these agents are generally achieved without major detrimental effect on overall QOL.
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