Natural Health News – Women who take a combined estrogen and progesterone form of therapy hormone replacement therapy (HRT) triple your chances of getting breast cancer, according to a new large-scale study.
The link between HRT and increased risk of breast cancer is already well established, but according to the researchers, this last published in British Journal of Cancer reveals that it may have been underestimating the actual risk.
The new research was part of breast cancer now Generations Study – an important prospective study led by scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), London, after more 100,000 women 40 years researching the causes of breast cancer.
Outside this group were identified and monitored for six years, with follow-up questionnaires gathering complete data on any use of HRT (type and duration), as well as their overall health and lifestyle some 39,000 menopausal women.
What you need to know
“ previous studies have shown that HRT may increase the risk of breast cancer and stroke in some women. Even so these results are disputed.
“ A new analysis has shown that older women who have been taking combined HRT the longer the risk of breast cancer triples.
“ The researchers suggest that women should use the new data to make more informed decisions about the care of menopause.
tripling cancer risk of women
During this time, 775 of these women developed breast cancer, researchers finding that women using combined HRT (for an average duration of 5.4 years) were 2.7 times more likely to develop breast cancer during the period of use of HRT than women who had never used HRT.
This risk increases with duration of use, with women who had used combined HRT for more than 15 years being 3.3 times more likely to develop breast cancer than nonusers. However, in women using estrogen alone there was an overall increase observed in the risk of breast cancer compared with women who had never used HRT.
Importantly, this increased level of risk has been found to return to approximately normal after ending HRT use: after a year or two had passed since women stopped taking combined HRT scientists found no significant increased risk of breast cancer, confirming the results of previous studies.
Study leader Professor Anthony Swerdlow, a professor of epidemiology at ICR said: “Our research shows that some earlier studies are likely to have underestimated the risk of breast cancer with hormone replacement therapy combined estrogen and progestogen. it was found that current use of therapy combined hormone replacement increases the risk of breast cancer by up to three times, depending on how long it has been used HRT.
“Our results provide more information for that women can make informed decisions about the risks and potential benefits of using HRT. “
in the 2000s two of the most large studies of HRT users was conducted, a randomized clinical trial in the US – the Health Initiative of Women (WHI) – and the study of a questionnaire observation United Kingdom – the Million Women Study (MWS). The results of these two studies published in 2002 and 2003 raised serious questions about the safety of HRT. These security concerns revolved around the findings that prolonged use of HRT may increase the risk of breast cancer and that the use of HRT may increase the risk of stroke.
The new analysis of these two studies in 2012 (see here here and here ) concluded that the risks had been exaggerated or were specific to certain women only; essentially older, overweight women and those taking HRT for longer. Yet questions have remained.
In addition, the potential for an increased risk of stroke and breast cancer, HRT can also increase the risk of developing other cancers. Estrogen-only HRT, for example, you can increase the risk of uterine cancer and usually only used in women who have had a hysterectomy -. Women were excluded from this study
What can women do?
HRT is commonly prescribed to treat menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, migraines, sleep disturbances, mood swings and depression. Despite the popularity of HRT declined after the publication of the WHI studies and MWS, approximately one in ten women using HRT during his fifties, with the use of the decline in older age groups as symptoms menopause reduced.
There are two main types of hormone replacement therapy, one containing only estrogen ( ‘estrogen-only HRT’) and the other a combination of estrogen and progestogen ( ‘combined HRT’) and can take different ways: through tablets, skin patches, cream or gel. A third less commonly used type of hormone replacement therapy known as ‘tibolone’ contains a steroid that acts like estrogen and progestin .
Too often, the “informed choice” presented to women is HRT or suffering. In experiecne factwomen of menopause varies greatly and there is no universal treatment for their symptoms, which may involve a complex mix of biological and psychological factors.
HRT is not a panacea and other less risky ways of managing the symptoms of menopause does not exist. What’s more, research suggests that women actively seek and prefer no medical treatment for symptoms of menopause and want more support from their GPs -. And their partners