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Jennifer Saunders' candid health admission: 'It was brutal'

The 63-year-old said nobody warned her about the side effects of cancer treatment

jennifer saunders menopause
Melanie Macleod
Wellness Editor
May 25, 2022
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Comedian Jennifer Saunders, 63, was diagnosed with breast cancer at 51, and has now revealed taking the drug tamoxifen as part of her treatment plunged her into menopause.

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Speaking to Saga Magazine she said: "I did crash into menopause a bit. It was quite brutal, especially because no one had warned me." She explained that tamoxifen stops oestrogen production, adding: "I don't think they quite understand how that mentally affects you. You don’t quite know what you should feel like, so you think, 'Is this depression? I don't know. I just feel angry'."

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The drugs Jennifer was taking were incompatible with hormone replacement therapy, and it took the star a while to find a doctor who made her able to cope with menopause.

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"You can get all this other stuff you're not told about, little antidepressants to see through bad moments – you don't have to be on them forever. It's definitely an odd time," she told Saga.

Sharing how the menopause impacted her daily life, Jennifer said: "My friends and I would talk about how it aches to get out of bed because everything is adjusting, your muscles and your bones."

dawn french jennifer saunders

Jennifer Saunders is still best of friends with Dawn French

Her remedy? A couple of paracetamol. "A few months in it's going to stop," she reassured. "Still, it's the first time you think, 'Oh! This is what ageing is'."

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On the subject of ageing, the sprightly star added that minimising stress is key to feeling on top form, calling stress "the most ageing thing."

jennifer and ade

Jennifer Saunders has been married to Ade Edmondson since 1985

"As you get older everything becomes a bit more of a trial. So you can't be too hard on yourself. Don't seize the day, ease into it gently with a cup of coffee and Wordle in a warm bed. You've got to enjoy life!"

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