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Putting Evidence Into Practice: Evidence-Based Interventions for Hot Flashes Resulting from Cancer Therapies

Marcelle Kaplan
Suzanne Mahon
Diane Cope
Elizabeth Keating
Stacey Hill
Marcie Jacobson
CJON 2011, 15(2), 149-157 DOI: 10.1188/11.CJON.149-157

Survival rates for people treated for breast or prostate cancer have increased steadily since 2000, which has been attributed to advances in early detection and improvements in treatments. However, breast and prostate cancer therapies that target estrogen and testosterone production are associated with hormone-deprivation symptoms—most commonly hot flashes—that may have a significant negative impact on quality of life. Compared to the healthy population, hot flashes occur most often in these two groups, so the authors conducted a literature search specifically for evidence-based interventions to manage hot flashes experienced by women treated for breast cancer and men treated for prostate cancer. The interventions reviewed were divided into two broad categories—pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic interventions—and categorized according to Oncology Nursing Society weights of evidence. Most of the interventions were rated effectiveness not established or lower; however, two drugs, venlafaxine and gabapentin, were rated likely to be effective. In addition, the placebo effect was noted to produce a high percentage of positive results in mitigating hot flashes.

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