Hot flashes result from chemotherapy, induced menopause or hormonal treatment. They are highly prevalent and persistent for breast cancer survivors and can also occur in prostate cancer survivors.1 Symptoms include sudden, unpredictable onset of intense heat with sweating and flushing of the face. Hot flashes may be accompanied by palpitations and a sense of anxiety or apprehension. Hot flashes affect 75% of women undergoing natural menopause, too. They can make sleep quite difficult, leading to increased fatigue and diminished quality of life.
What patients can do
Patients can keep a record of their hot flashes, including their frequency, severity and any other symptoms that may accompany them. This record will be helpful in customizing therapy. Suggestions for managing hot flashes include:
- medications, including hormonal therapies, antidepressants and anti-seizure medications
- cognitive behavioural therapy
- dietary changes
There are several ways that jobs can be modified to accommodate hot flashes as a result of cancer and cancer treatments:
Modify work tasks:
- If the job requires a uniform, request alternative clothing options that allow the patient to remove a layer when needed.
Modify the work environment:
- Ensure a comfortable temperature using fans, portable air conditioners or dehumidifiers.
- Request access to a refrigerator to store wearable cold packs that can be rotated throughout the day, and cold water to drink.