By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.

How Trekstock's early menopause support changed the game

Menopause is a common but not often discussed side effect of breast cancer treatment. Stacey didn't realise how much her menopausal symptoms were impacting her until she joined Trekstock's menopause programme.

Table of contents

Stacey’s breast cancer treatment saw her go into a medically induced early menopause, a common but often unspoken side-effect of hormone receptive breast cancer treatments. At first, just grateful to be out of active cancer treatment, she didn’t realise how much the menopause and its symptoms were impacting her life. But after taking part in our Menopause programme, Stacey changed her approach to her symptoms and the way she thinks about her body.

I was diagnosed with stage 2a oestrogen positive breast cancer when I was 30 years old. I had chemotherapy, a mastectomy and DIEP flap reconstruction. I finished active treatment in March 2020 and started taking Exemestane daily and having Zoladex injections monthly. This treatment decreased the amount of oestrogen produced in my body and that’s when I entered a medically induced menopause.

Experiencing menopausal symptoms

I stopped having periods a few weeks after my first Zoladex injection. I felt fine and relieved that I was no longer having periods. I didn’t realise I was experiencing any other symptoms until months later because nothing seemed to be interrupting my life in a major way. But I was actually experiencing a lot of the common menopausal symptoms including hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal atrophy (thinning, drying and inflammation of the vaginal walls that can happen when your body has less oestrogen), anxiety, low libido and mood changes.

At first, I wasn’t too bothered by these symptoms because I’d finished chemotherapy and recently recovered from my mastectomy and reconstruction. I was happy to have gotten through everything and the thought of monthly injections and daily medication seemed lovely and so easy after everything I’d been through. But a few months into the menopause I realised that I didn’t know how I was meant to feel anymore or if I should or could do anything about having the menopause.

Side-effects as uncomfortable reminders

The hot flushes, night sweats and vaginal atrophy didn’t affect my everyday life but instead they would pop up frequently. Each one would be an uncomfortable reminder that I’d had cancer, that my life isn’t the same as other people my age and that I have the menopause. It was depressing to think about the next time I’d notice a menopausal symptom. I realised that my symptoms would be around for at least a few years, if not forever, and that if they didn’t bother me daily I didn’t want to be surprised by them so often.

Then I heard about Trekstock’s Menopause programme and made the decision to sign up. The programme provided me with useful and age-appropriate information which I had been unable to find anywhere else. It was also the first time I had ever received practical advice and felt heard and understood. The speakers and hosts were very knowledgeable and understanding. Having the opportunity to listen to menopause experts and receive advice directly was invaluable.

Options to relieve symptoms

It was also the first time I had met and spoken to anyone else my age who was going through the menopause. It was great to be in a space where we could discuss our experiences, learn and listen to one another without feeling any pressure to do so. Having this space made me realise that I’m not alone and that my symptoms were bothering me and there are things I can do to improve my wellbeing. I learnt that there are options to relieve my symptoms which can involve taking HRT, not taking HRT and focusing on exercise.

The menopause programme changed the way I approach my symptoms and think about my body. It encouraged me to speak to my GP and tell them what was going on. I felt confident after the programme that if I didn’t get the help I needed from my GP there were other options out there.

Getting help

Fortunately, I didn’t experience any problems and my GP contacted my oncology team and now I have regular appointments with a gynaecologist who works alongside my breast care unit. I had no idea it would be so easy to organise and I wish I had done this earlier. Iif I hadn’t attended Trekstock’s menopause programme, I might still be putting off calling my GP and I might still be struggling with symptoms that were impacting my life.

Watch Stacey on Davina McCall: Sex, Mind and the Menopause. Check out our Lifting the Lid on Menopause and Cancer for more support

Other resources

Navigating sex and cancer is a minefield. Whether you’re trying to do the deed after diagnosis, you’re living with cancer or you’re in the realms of that elusive new normal we hear so much about, the truth is, the whole thing can be, well...Tricky. Here's our tips on sex and cancer

Parenting is tough enough without adding cancer into the mix. While there's no single formula that can make parenting through cancer easy; there are some practical tools, strategies, resources and services that can help.

Receiving a cancer diagnosis in your 20s or 30s is hard enough. When you are from the LGBTQIA+ community there can be a number of issues you may face. One of these may be your sex life and sexual health. Stewart from LGBTQIA+ cancer support charity OUTpatients and experts share their tips and advice that can help you navigate sex after cancer.

Lydia's cancer diagnosis when she was. Her diagnosis meant she had to undergo a complete hysterectomy – having her uterus and cervix removed. As a result, she found herself facing the menopause. Here’s her story on how she’s reached an understanding with her symptoms.

Early menopause is a side effect of cancer treatment a lot of people aren't prepared for. There are ways to cope and to manage those side effects. However early menopause is impacting you, Dr Lousie Newson, GP and menopause specialist, has some tips.

Exercise and cancer don't seem like ideal partners. But the truth is they go together exceptionally well. Exercise has tonnes of benefits for those going through cancer treatment and living with any long term impacts. Exercise physiologist Tom Cowan explains the benefits of exercising with cancer and shares the best ways to make it work for you.

Living life alongside cancer when you’re in your 20s or 30s brings its own unique set of challenges. But we exist to help you make the most of the parallel lives you’re living as both patient and person. Here’s a rundown of everything we offer.

We're able to consume more content and information than ever before. A world of news, dating apps and online shopping is always just a few seconds away. But humans have not evolved to handle this kind of consumption. We're still in the process of figuring out what exactly it does to us. This year's Men's Mental Health Week is focusing on the internet and its impact on male mental health

There are loads of ways to nurture body confidence, even with cancer in the mix. We're here to support you every step of the way, providing resources to enhance both your physical and mental well-being. Together, we can help you embrace self-love and find a sense of comfort in your own skin, even in the face of cancer.

So you’ve just been told you’ve got cancer. And then you’re told your ability to have kids in the future might be impacted too. Because cancer’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Finding out you might be infertile because of your cancer treatment can have a huge emotional impact. Even if kids are the last thing on your mind, making sense of having this decision taken away from you is important. If you’re experiencing fertility issues and it’s impacting your mental health, it’s OK. There are people and organisations out there designed to help.

Just because you've been diagnosed with cancer during your education doesn't mean you should be held back. Here's everything you need to know about living life alongside cancer and education

Tips for opening up about your health at work - from what your rights are to how to talk to your employer and what to do if you decide to stop working.

Ambassador Carolina shares what the Trekstock community means to her and how she found support from people who'd been through cancer treatment at a young age.

Because navigating friendships in your 20s or 30s is hard enough without cancer.

No matter who you are, the physical changes that might occur because of cancer or its treatments can be really difficult. Whether you're dealing with nausea, hair loss, early menopause or anything else, learning how to manage these impacts is key to a better quality of life.

Cancer’s an emotional rollercoaster. It’s OK to find it tough to cope.