Radio presenter Kirsty Lang has revealed how having chemotherapy for breast cancer made her menopause symptoms ‘turbo charged’.
The journalist, 57, appeared on Lorraine alongside expert Dr Louise Newson today, and revealed she’s been back on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for three months.
Kirsty started taking HRT in her late 40s but after around four years on the treatment, doctor’s discovered a lump in her breast during a routine mammogram.
When she was diagnosed, Kirsty said she went home and ‘chucked out HRT’, as it’s been linked to a higher risk of breast cancer, and said she feared it was her ‘fault’ for getting ill after taking it.
But after having chemo, her menopause symptoms were ‘much worse than before’, and she decided to go back on the treatment after learning that not all forms of HRT are associated with a higher risk.
Journalist Kirsty Lang, pictured, revealed that her menopause symptoms were ‘turbo charged’ and ‘much worse’ after she stopped HRT and had chemotherapy for breast cancer
Kirsty, left, appeared on Lorraine today with Dr Louise Newson, pictured right, who specialises in menopausal women
She said: ‘After cancer treatment it was like my menopause had been turbo charged and the symptoms were much worse than before.
‘I tried acupuncture as well as cutting down on coffee and alcohol, which all helped a bit.
‘I just thought, “this is my lot and hopefully it will go away”. But three years went by and I was still suffering.’
Kirsty explained how she then started to write about breast cancer, and was invited by her surgeon to a Royal Society event.
Kirsty, pictured middle, told Carol Vorderman, left, how she hit the menopause in her late 40s and felt better within weeks of starting hormone replacement therapy
The radio presenter, pictured, was diagnosed with breast cancer at 53 and asked the doctor if HRT could have caused her illness but they said it was ‘probably genetic’
There, she heard Dr Avrum Bluming, author of Oestrogen Matters, talk and heard how a study linking breast cancer to HRT was ‘fundamentally flawed.’
Kirsty explained how the doctor said that there was ‘no reason some patients couldn’t take HRT, and that his own wife and daughter were on it.’
Kirsty’s menopause hit in her late 40s, although she admitted that at first she wasn’t ‘sure what was happening’ to her body.
She said: ‘I started to suffer from anxiety, and I had never been anxious before. I had mood swings and would bite my husband’s head off for no reason.
Carol Vorderman, pictured, shared how she had suffered from the menopause as well
Kirsty, pictured today, said she’s been back on HRT for the past three months
‘I also started sleeping badly and then the hot flushes came on. I started HRT and felt better within weeks.’
Kirsty said that roughly four years after starting the hormone therapy, she went for a routine mammogram and a lump in her breast was detected.
After getting her cancer diagnosis Kirsty said she was worried she had caused her illness by taking HRT.
She said: ‘The first thing I asked my doctor was whether it was my fault, for taking the HRT.
Dr Louise Newson, pictured on Lorraine, explained how women under 45 are not at an increased risk of developing breast cancer when taking HRT
‘They said “no and that it was probably genetic” but that I should stop using HRT as it could act like a natural fertiliser.’
Dr Louise Newson, who specialises in menopausal women, was also on Lorraine this morning with Kirsty and host Carole Vorderman.
Dr Newson explained how not all women are at risk of getting breast cancer if they take HRT.
Which type of HRT has the lowest risk of cancer?
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) replaces oestrogen, levels of which plummet at the menopause, triggering night sweats, vaginal dryness, headaches, low mood, reduced sex drive and hot flushes.
Most women take combined HRT, which contains synthetic versions of oestrogen and the hormone progesterone, because taking oestrogen alone has been seen to increase the risk of womb cancer. Combined HRT can be taken every day without a break or in cycles.
Oestrogen is taken continuously and supplemented with progesterone every few weeks. Those who have had a hysterectomy can take oestrogen-only HRT.
Tablets, skin patches, gels, implants and vaginal creams, pessaries and rings are all available. Topical treatments, such as gels, patches and creams, are associated with a lower risk of cancer.
Non-hormonal options include tibolone (livial), which is similar to combined HRT and is particularly useful for women with endometriosis.
The blood-pressure drug clonidine and some anti-depressants can also ease hot flushes and night sweats.
She said: ‘Young women under 45, who have early menopause, are not at an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
‘This is because they’re just replacing hormones their body would otherwise be producing.
‘There’s also no increased risk of breast cancer for women who have had a hysterectomy.’