Evidence-Based Treatment of Hot Flashes Related to Cancer Therapies

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Hot flashes are one of the many side effects of cancer treatment. A hot flash is defined as “a subjective sensation of heat that is associated with objective signs of cutaneous vasodilation and a subsequent drop in core temperature” (Kaplan, Mahon, Cope, Keating, Hill & Jacobson, 2011). Another description of a hot flash is a “sudden sensation of intense warmth that begins in the chest region and rises to the neck and face” (Loprinzi, Barton & Rhodes, 2001). Hot flashes are difficult to measure because they are a subjective experience. Electronic monitoring devices have been used to assess skin temperature and objectively measure hot flashes (Carpenter, 2005). Hot flashes cause discomfort and can affect a patient’s quality of life, especially when associated with night sweats, sleep disruption, and mood swings (Loprinzi, Barton & Rhodes, 2001). There are certain types of cancer treatments that cause hot flashes in patients. Cancer treatments that target estrogen and testosterone production cause more incidences of hot flashes than other cancer treatments (Kaplan et al., 2011). The side effects of these types of cancer therapies include hormone-deprivation symptoms, one of which can be hot flashes (Kaplan et al., 2011). These treatments are used for breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men (Kaplan et al., 2011). Premenopausal women who undergo treatment for cancer may also experience hot flashes. This is because “about 80% of premenopausal women who receive

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