Endometrial Cancer, Menopause

My Cancer Story: Late Onset Menopause

Tiki Bar

The photo above was taken at the Tiki Bar at Carolina Beach about seven years ago. Even though I was well into my fifties, I wasn’t officially menopausal yet. I remember feeling ready to be done with PMS and periods but proud of my late menopause, as if I had fallen into a slight fountain of youth.

What I didn’t know, and couldn’t have done a thing about, is that a late menopause can be a factor in the development of endometrial cancer. The longer your body is rich in estrogen, the greater chance you have of getting cancer of the uterus. My cancer was diagnosed about five years after this photo was taken.

To counterbalance the increased cancer risk, here’s an article in the New York Times listing the good news about a late menopause, including lowered risk for heart disease and stronger bones. Read the article here.

The average age of menopause is 51, but onset ranges from 45 to 55. Here’s an article I wrote for EmpowerHer: “At What Age Does Menopause Start.”

There’s good info  in these articles, and for those of you experiencing a late menopause, please don’t worry. I wish I’d known the risk factor though. It might have prepared me a bit and sent me to the doctor sooner once I saw the first sight of blood.

I’m hoping by the time those cute girls are of menopausal age, a late menopause will no longer be an issue. Let’s hope medical advances kick cancer’s butt way out to sea.

I’ll drink a pina colada to that one!

21 thoughts on “My Cancer Story: Late Onset Menopause”

  1. Thanks so much for this very comprehensive post and informative links. I am so over having periods. After starting at 11 years old, I am still going strong and heavy 43 years later!!! Nice to be in the normal range, but not so nice to still have to deal with it. Actually pretty miserable. I am with a great doctor, so definitely getting the regular monitoring as suggested. All healthy and normal thus far, so trying to practice gratefulness with the draining inconvenience of the monthly roller coaster.

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  2. Lovely photo. Lets hope cancer is no more by the time your daughters get to that stage.

    I started my periods when I was 13 (although unlike you not actually on my birthday!) and only had one after my 54th birthday, so I guess I was in the ‘normal’ range.

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    1. Yes. In range. Thanks about the photo! I normally wouldn’t wear a dress like that at the beach, but the girls announced I need to look fancier/groovier? Not sure what their language was. We had fun!

      On Fri, May 27, 2016 at 1:50 PM, Friend For The Ride wrote:

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  3. Another enlightening personal story from you, something you do each time. Thanks for being willing to talk about things so many women hide from the world. You make it possible for many super closed up women to learn to share and open up their hearts to their friends.

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  4. Hi Barbara,

    I didn’t realize there were more risks for someone going into menopause later. I’m 47 and hoping to have all said and down by 50. I’m so sorry to hear about your battle with cancer. Are you cancer-free now? God bless and thank you for passing along the awareness. I’ll be sharing this with my lady friends.

    Bren

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  5. Beautiful picture Barbara! Your post and links are so informative, thank you! I am 52 this summer and am officially menopausal. I talk about menopause a lot but find lots of ladies (even in my family) are still too shy. It is a shame because there is much to share as well as so much to learn.

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      1. I found that too. A couple of my work colleagues started to get symptoms round about the same time, so discussion about coping with hot flushes etc. were quite common, but none of us really talked about the mental side.

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      2. I think it’s just hard to talk about the emotional stuff. I was never very honest with Cliff about it. Would be now, I think.

        On Tue, May 31, 2016 at 12:08 PM, Friend For The Ride wrote:

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