OBJECTIVES: To review literature relevant to defining and managing hot flashes in women with breast cancer. DATA SOURCES: Published literature on hot flashes in women with breast cancer and in healthy women. CONCLUSIONS: The etiology of hot flashes is influenced by several breast cancer treatment-related factors. Hot flashes are a prevalent, severe problem that can negatively impact quality of life. Certain women are at higher risk for hot flashes following breast cancer treatment. Little research supports the safety or effectiveness of treatments in women with breast cancer. IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING PRACTICE: Implications include the need to improve patient education, perform comprehensive symptom assessments, and counsel women about various treatment alternatives.
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