Treatment for a diagnosis of breast or gynecologic cancer may induce menopause for women diagnosed with these cancers. A reliable, valid instrument is required to measure the impact of treatment-induced menopause. This study explored the psychometric properties of the MENQOL in women with cancer.
Women who had had a confirmed diagnosis of breast or gynecologic cancer and who experienced treatment-induced menopause participated in this study. Women taking hormone replacement therapy were excluded. Those who consented completed the MENQOL, EORTC-30, SVQ-Extended Version, and a visual analog scale for hot flashes. Analysis focused on test-retest reliability and face, content and concurrent validity.
Eighty women participated in this study. They ranged in age from 29 to 58 (mean = 47) years. 81% of the women had breast cancer, 78% were married, and 72% reported completing college or university. The most frequently endorsed items on the MENQOL were those related to vasomotor symptoms [hot flashes (85%), sweating (79%), and night sweats (75%)], fatigue [feeling worn out or tired (83%), lack of energy (75%)], and sleep disturbances [trouble sleeping (83%)]. Women rated the vasomotor symptoms as highly bothersome [hot flashes, mean = 4.07; night sweats, mean = 3.88; sweating, mean = 4.0], but weight gain received the highest bothersome rating (mean = 4.62). Sexual and intimacy changes were also ranked as highly bothersome [change in sexual desire, mean = 4.24; vaginal dryness during intercourse, mean = 4.20; avoiding intimacy, mean = 4.12]. Fatigue was ranked as bothersome with a mean score of 4.02.
The consequences of cancer treatment may have a profound impact on quality of life for survivors. In particular, women who experience treatment-induced menopause can feel an impact on their quality of life. The high incidence of night sweats, feeling tired, lack of energy, and difficulty sleeping ought to be a focus for directing interventions for these survivors.