The topic of our most recent Update Hour was hormones and we were lucky to be joined by the renowned Endocrinologist and author of the best-selling book ‘The Complete Guide to the Menopause’, Dr Annice Mukherjee.
As well as sharing insightful knowledge and tips about hormones and menopause, Annice chatted with her close friend Sally Dynevor – Coronation street star and long-standing Patron of Prevent Breast Cancer. They discussed their friendship and how they supported each other when they both personally went through breast cancer.
If you missed the event, you can watch it in full on our YouTube channel by clicking here.
Get to know Dr Annice Mukherjee
Discover more about Dr Annice Mukherjee, her area of expertise – hormones and menopause – and what you could gain from reading her best-selling book.
Tell us about your professional background?
I am a hospital hormone specialist with a medical career spanning nearly 30 years. I have supported thousands of women going through menopause to help resolve symptoms and improve quality of life and overall health, safely.
My career-long interests have included optimising the quality of life, especially in my patients with hormone diseases, treating hormone problems in cancer survivors, including early menopause and other complex menopause issues, and diagnosing and treating complex symptoms.
How do you think the understanding of the menopause has changed over the years?
Menopause today is different for many reasons. If you are a woman going through menopause today you are more likely to be employed; had kids later; have a care role for elderly relatives. We all also live busier 24/7 lifestyles like never before. These reasons make menopause much more challenging today than for any previous generation. Quality of life during and after the menopause is essential now more than ever; therefore it is so important we must address it sooner rather than later.
Why did you write “The Complete Guide to the Menopause”?
When I entered menopause, I was fortunate to be armed with decades of knowledge and experience. I started studying hormone diseases back in my mid-20s, and throughout my 30s, I supported and treated countless women, with vastly different personal experiences of menopause. So, I was not fearful when I entered chemical-induced menopause, due to breast cancer treatment in my early-40s. My knowledge made the whole experience more manageable. I could decode everything that I was feeling and going through, and I knew the best remedies to each one of my symptoms. Knowing everything about what I was going through gave me a sense of security and confidence that I am very eager to spread to all women. Too many women suffer as their symptoms escalate out of control, after which it can be hard to get back on track. It shouldn’t and doesn’t have to be that way. Knowledge is liberating, and with information, comes empowerment.
What do you hope women will gain from reading the book?
I hope that readers will become better equipped before entering the menopause by understanding how it works and take control (or regain control) of their overall health. Prevention is better than cure. I want to help women in midlife to remain well and productive throughout their menopause transition and beyond and reduce risk of health issues in the post-menopause years.
The advice I give is easy to implement in any individual circumstance. It is not just about medications. It focusses on crucial lifestyle tweaks which can help, not only with wellbeing but profoundly to reduce long term health risks, including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. This information will benefit all women.
I provide detailed, evidence-based guidance and advice that will be helpful if you have received a breast cancer diagnosis and cannot safely take HRT. I hope sharing my breast cancer journey in the book will help my readers too.
I hope that my book can empower women, so they can embrace the menopause, not fear it. Armed with the right information and advice, you can enjoy a very positive (and healthy) next stage of life.
Has your experience with breast cancer influenced your career and outlook on life, and if so, how?
Yes, my breast cancer diagnosis helped me value every day, live my best life and enjoy the time I have. It also gave me a strong drive to share my knowledge and clinical experience more widely to help every woman going through menopause to improve her wellbeing and health, whether or not she takes HRT. I also hope to increase healthcare standards across the board, which will provide all women going through this journey with better support.
How have you been involved with Prevent Breast Cancer before?
I have been a supporter of PBC for several years. In the beginning, I found out about it through a close friend who is involved with the charity. I love the charity’s ethos because it is aligned with my mantra, that “prevention is better than cure”. There are many ways to reduce breast cancer risk, and there is a lot that you can do for yourself to reduce your risk. It is never too late. The research that Prevent Breast Cancer is doing is vital.
What are your hopes for the future with how women manage the menopause?
I would love to see the widespread implementation of a ‘menopause health MOT’ including information about preparing for menopause. This guide should be offered to every woman, anytime from her early 40s. This kind of review would be easy to set up in primary care; ultimately providing better healthcare at a lower cost due to management being proactive rather than reactive.
When a woman goes into menopause already prepared, her whole menopause transition is smoother and better. Forewarned is forearmed. If every woman entered menopause already armed with this information, it would improve their wellbeing and enable them to remain productive; and reduce long term health risks, including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. This implementation would help all women, and ultimately all those around them, and the whole of our society.