A new poll of postmenopausal women with breast cancer has found that of those who quit taking drugs that prevent recurrence, more than one-third did so because of serious side effects including joint pain, hot flashes and nausea.
The investigation was the first to ask women to identify the reasons for noncompliance. Researchers learned that 36 percent of women quit early because of the medications’ side effects, which are more severe and widespread than previously thought.
A notable finding is the absence of appropriate communication between women and their doctors –that is, a disconnect between what women tell their doctors about side effects and what they actually experience, and/or selective hearing by medical professionals on how treatment is influencing a woman’s quality of life.
“Clinicians consistently underestimate the side effects associated with treatment,” said lead investigator and clinical psychologist Dr. Lynne Wagner.