Menopause after Cancer

 Dani Binnington wasn’t envisioning helping other women when she was first diagnosed with cancer. She was simply trying to do everything she could to see her three little girls walk through the gates on their first day of school. Today, she has become a patient’s advocate and voice for women in menopause after a cancer diagnosis, empowering women to make informed choices in their health and wellbeing.  

Dani is a menopause guide, yoga teacher and all-round wellness warrior. Her lifestyle platform ‘Healthy, Whole Me’ offers menopause coaching programs, yoga classes, delicious recipes, stress-busting events and oodles of inspiration for an empowered wellbeing experience.  

“I become a woman’s thinking partner; helping to navigate the medical system, looking at all the evidence based solutions available to them, looking at their belief systems and finding ways to move forward. Every woman deserves to know her options: it’s ok that we want good quality of life.” 

Based on her successful Empowered Menopause programs, Dani has developed the UK’s first menopause program for young women going through cancer, in collaboration with Trekstock, a charity supporting young adults in their 20’s and 30’s affected by cancer.  

Dani is a contributor to Dr. Louise Newson’s Balance app and has founded The Menopause And Cancer podcast, a resource for patients and health care professionals. 

“Menopause is not a one size fits all approach. We need to look at evidence based facts, make this available to all women and then take into account that each woman is different, needing a bespoke action plan”.  

She has repeatedly appeared as a guest on podcasts, been interviewed by numerous national press, has contributed to many articles in magazines and newspapers and recently appeared on ITV’s This Morning. 

 

 Menopause after cancer

The menopause conversation is really shifting. We’re all talking about it a lot more and most of us have a much better understanding of the benefits of HRT, as well as lifestyle adjustments that can help manage symptoms. Getting regular exercise and using vaginal lubricants to help soothe vaginal dryness are well established talking points within the menopause conversation.  

 

But there’s something that isn’t so widely discussed – and that’s menopause after cancer. It’s a totally different ballgame, and people in the cancer community often feel excluded from the wider menopause conversation. That can leave women feeling even more isolated, confused and scared during what is already a deeply challenging time. For one thing, depending on the cancer diagnosis, your doctor may not recommend using HRT. For another, symptoms like vaginal dryness and hot flushes may not be high up on the list of what needs immediate treatment. So you’re left on your own, dealing with a double-whammy of menopause symptoms and the trauma, loneliness and anxiety that can follow cancer treatment.  

 

Why is it different?

 

Here are a few of the key reasons:  

 

  • You have sudden and severe menopause symptoms, perhaps after surgery or radiation, or certain medications.
  • You may have to cope with fertility loss
  • You have to come off your HRT
  • You might feel you shouldn’t complain- after all, you’re lucky to be alive
  • You might not know who can help you
  • You feel you have no treatment options
  • You worry about your long-term health 

 

I want to help change this, and ensure women with a cancer diagnosis are given the menopause treatment options best for them. 

 

Here’s my 3-point manifesto for menopause after cancer. 

 

Talk about it 

Firstly, let’s start opening up about it so we all realise we’re not alone. That in itself can be a game-changer. Listen to my Menopause And Cancer Podcast. Weekly interviews with experts can help you understand your options and how to navigate this phase in your life. Find it on Apple or on Spotify. 

 

Persist with your healthcare team 

Managing menopause after a cancer diagnosis may be more challenging and require more bespoke care. However, it’s absolutely possible to do something about your symptoms. It might not be as straightforward a journey, but please let me reassure you there’s not only hope, but solutions too! It could be simple lifestyle adjustments like diet and exercise, or medication options (non-hormonal and hormonal if appropriate). The help is there. Your healthcare providers are there to take care of you. Persevere and, in partnership with your doctor, you should be able to find the best management plan for you. And don’t forget, it’s OK to seek a second opinion! 

 

Empower yourself 

You’ve been through such a lot already. You – and your body – deserve nourishment and care. Take the time to research, and read the information available to you- knowledge is power! Taking control of your diet is a great place to start. Eating a diet full of lovely whole foods and plenty of fruit and veg goes a long way. Importantly, educating yourself on what’s in the products you’re using can really be a game changer. Try to only use products that don’t contain any nasty chemicals. That could be a supplement, hot flush spray, or a vaginal lubricant to tackle that tricky and uncomfortable vaginal dryness. Using the right product can go a long way to help keep you healthy. From your gut health to intimate health, and everything in between, your body deserves the best care- and it’s ok to give that to yourself.

 

 

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