A large body of research has documented the prevalence and severity of menopausal symptoms, especially vasomotor symptoms, in breast cancer survivors and their impact on quality of life. However, urinary symptoms as part of the constellation of menopausal symptoms have received relatively little attention. Thus, less is known about the prevalence and severity of urinary symptoms in breast cancer survivors. The authors of this report conducted a systematic review of studies published between 1990 and 2010 to describe the prevalence and severity of urinary symptoms in breast cancer survivors. In total, 16 eligible studies that involved >2500 women were identified. The studies varied with respect to purpose, design, and nature of the samples included; the majority used the same definition and assessment approach for urinary symptoms. Prevalence rates for symptoms ranged from 12% of women reporting burning or pain on micturition to 58% reporting difficulty with bladder control. Although, in many studies, the largest percentage of women rated symptoms as mild, 23% reported severe symptoms. Symptoms appeared to adversely affect women's quality of life. The authors concluded that there is a need for additional research assessing the natural history of urinary symptoms using consensus definitions and validated measures in diverse populations. Nevertheless, this review suggested that clinicians should screen for urinary symptoms in breast cancer survivors and should offer treatment recommendations or make referrals as appropriate.
- breast cancer
- urogenital system