Perceived control and hot flashes in treatment-seeking breast cancer survivors and menopausal women

Janet S. Carpenter, Jingwei Wu, Debra S. Burns, Menggang Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Background: Lower perceived control over hot flashes has been linked to fewer coping strategies, more catastrophizing, and greater hot flash severity and distress in midlife women, yet this important concept has not yet been studied in breast cancer survivors. Objective: The aim of this study was to explore perceived control over hot flashes and hot flashes in breast cancer survivors compared with midlife women without cancer. Methods: Ninety-nine survivors and 138 midlife women completed questionnaires and a prospective, electronic hot flash diary. All data were collected at a baseline assessment before randomization in a behavioral intervention study. Results: Both groups had moderate perceived control over hot flashes. Control was not significantly related to hot flash frequency but was significantly related to hot flash severity, bother, and interference in both groups. A significantly stronger association between control and hot flash interference was found for survivors than for midlife women. Survivors using hot flash treatments perceived less control than did survivors not using hot flash treatments, whereas the opposite was true in midlife women. Conclusions: Findings extend our knowledge of perceived control over hot flashes in both survivors and midlife women. Implications for Practice: Findings emphasize the importance of continued menopausal symptom assessment and management, support the importance of continuing nursing care even for survivors who are already using hot flash treatment, and suggest that nursing interventions aimed at improving perceived control over hot flashes may be more helpful for survivors than for midlife women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-202
Number of pages8
JournalCancer nursing
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2012



  • Breast cancer
  • Control
  • Coping
  • Menopause
  • Symptom management
  • Vasomotor symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)

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