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Medical Health Aged Care, Women

Let’s Talk About Menopause (and Breast Cancer)

Breast Cancer Network Australia 3 mins read

28/11/2023

Menopause. It’s a hot button (or hot flush, as it were) topic right now thanks to a viral response to guest Imogen Crump owning her perimenopausal hot flush live on ABC News Breakfast. It has since ignited long-overdue conversations normalising menopause across the country. 

“We need to spend time properly talking about sex, about dry vaginas, or about penises that can no longer respond as we want them to – not just make jokes and hope it will magically get sorted out!” Sexual Health Physician Dr Tonia Mezzini said. “Talking about sex and intimacy is difficult for all of us, but it’s difficult because it is important.”

Talking about menopause, sexual difficulties, and sexual health are challenging for many patients, with high emotional stakes. Dr Mezzini said it’s a specialist area of medical practice for doctors, and that sexual health, relationships, mental health, and wellbeing issues are often the “elephant in the room” during consultations.

“Everybody wants to talk about it, but nobody knows where to start,” she said. “The patient is hoping the clinician will ask them because then they have permission to raise it, and the clinician is thinking well if they want to talk about it, they’ll ask me.”

Topics like this can also often be difficult to discuss with your partner, but rest assured you are not alone! Tune in to the upcoming webcast, Ask the Expert: Menopause – It's more than a hot flush! hosted by Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) on Wednesday 6 December at 7.00pm AEDT. Dr Mezzini will be having an open, informative, and entertaining conversation, joined by facilitator and BCNA Consumer Representative Naveena Nekkalapudi. The duo will discuss sexual health and wellbeing, what you can do to empower yourself in managing menopausal side effects after a breast cancer diagnosis, and the various types of support available to assist with sexual and emotional wellbeing.

Changes to sexual wellbeing are experienced by many people undergoing breast cancer treatment. This often presents as menopause, or menopause-like, symptoms. “Menopause is often more challenging for women with breast cancer who are catapulted into menopause suddenly, and many well before the typical age,” Dr Mezzini said. “Symptoms can include changes to the menstrual cycle, hot flushes and sweats, vaginal dryness or discomfort, sleep disturbance, joint pains and fatigue, osteoporosis, risk of cardiovascular disease, potential cognitive changes, anxiety and mood challenges, and low libido.” 

Dr Mezzini points out that low libido can be exacerbated by the issues like sleep deprivation as well as genital health changes. “These may have a profound and negative impact on the quality of life of postmenopausal women, and women should be made aware of these problems and treated with an appropriate effective therapy,” she said.  

Dr Mezzini will be sharing her top tips for treating symptoms (and sometimes even avoiding them all together) and her go-to methods and products for managing issues that are affecting quality of life and sexual function, including what she has dubbed the “downstairs chap stick!”. 

BCNA’s webcasts are designed for everyone affected by breast cancer – whether they have been diagnosed with DCIS, early breast cancer, or metastatic breast cancer or are a family member or carer of someone diagnosed. 

 

 

EVENT DETAILS

 

Date: Wednesday 6 December

Time: 7:00pm – 8:00pm AEDT

Where: Online

 

Your Local Time:

 

WA: 4:00pm  
NT: 5:30pm

QLD:  6:00pm

SA:  6:30pm

ACT, TAS, NSW, VIC: 7:00pm

 

To find out more and to register, visit the link in our bio. https://loghic.eventsair.com/bcna/061223/Site/Register

 

 

About Dr Tonia Mezzini

Dr Mezzini is a Sexual Health Physician based in Adelaide. She has a special interest in chronic pelvic pain, vulval disorders, and hormonal concerns across the reproductive life span. Further to this, she is interested in mental health for women. She has a Master of HIV, STI and Sexual Health from Sydney University and a Master of Psychiatry from Melbourne University. Dr Mezzini presents in an open, informative and engaging way on sexual health and wellbeing.  

 

About Naveena Nekkalapudi

Following her diagnosis of triple negative breast cancer and subsequent treatment, Naveena decided to re-evaluate her life and focus on matters that are important to her. She describes it as changing from being career ambitious to being life ambitious. Naveena is a Consumer Representative for BCNA, Cancer Council Victoria, Breast Cancer Trials, VCCC, and Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research.  

 

If you require quotes, content, or an interview please reach out and our team can coordinate this.

 

 


About us:

Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) is Australia’s leading breast cancer consumer organisation. BCNA provides information and support to those diagnosed and their supporters, opportunities to connect with others going through a similar situation and work to influence a stronger healthcare system to ensure all Australians affected by breast cancer receive the very best care, treatment and support.


Contact details:

Carissa McQualter

Communications Specialist

0405 928 476

cmcqualter@bcna.org.au

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