Many women are told they can’t have HRT due to the type of their cancer. This can seem like the end of the conversation, however it is not! We outline evidence-based treatment options when HRT is not recommended. The prescribable alternatives to HRT can help with symptom management.

The alternatives to HRT can be broadly grouped as follows:        

Non-hormonal medical treatments                                                                    

Medications prescribed by your GP or oncologist can be used to treat a variety of symptoms. By identifying your most troublesome symptoms, medications can be targeted to help with what is bothering you most. Examples of these are: antidepressants for hot flushes, low mood and irritability (e.g., gabapentin or pregabalin). 

Herbal medicine                                                                         

A practice based on the use of plants or plant extracts to relieve symptoms. Many women are concerned about contraindications with existing medications. We recommend seeking help from a medical herbalist who can help with that.

Alternative medicine                                                                  

A range of therapies can be used instead of conventional medicine, such as acupressure, acupuncture, homoeopathy, cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), or Cognitive behaviour therapy for insomnia (CBT-I). See our other resources for more info.

Complementary therapy                                                          

Different to alternative medicine, complementary therapies are interventions that tend to be used alongside conventional medicine, e.g. herbal medicine with a prescription medication. Or acupuncture during chemotherapy.

You may want to try different approaches at different points in your life. What works today might not work next week and it is good to keep your options open. There is no right or wrong way of doing this. What’s important is that you know you have plenty of treatment options.

Tune into the episode with Prof. Annnice Mukherjee, Consultant Endocrinologist, here:

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