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A study into treatments for breast cancer survivors has found that giving patients a stellate-ganglion block could provide them with long-term relief from hot flushes and sleep deprivation.
The authors of the study, published in The Lancet Oncology, monitored the number and intensity of hot flushes and night awakenings in 13 survivors of breast cancer in the US.
They found that treatment with the stellate-ganglion block – an injection into the nerves of the neck which regulate temperature – resulted in a decrease in both the number of hot flushes and the number of night awakenings over a 12-week period.
Hot flushes are a frequent and serious side-effect of drug treatments for breast cancer. They can also have a substantial effect on daily living, by disrupting sleep and causing fatigue and irritability during the day.
In breast cancer survivors who take anti-oestrogen medications, hot flushes can even contribute to cancer recurrence by discouraging compliance with treatment programmes.
The study’s authors conclude: “Long-term relief of symptoms has the potential to improve overall quality of life and increase compliance with anti-oestrogen medications for breast cancer.”
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