According to the annual meeting of The American Association of Cancer Research, long-term use of estrogen-only therapy increases the risk of postmenopausal women developing breast cancer, according to new data from the Nurses’ Health Study.
The findings suggest that opting for progesterone-free hormone therapy for the treatment of menopause symptoms should not be considered the risk-free alternative to combination progesterone plus estrogen formulations. Dr. Chen of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston also showed that being on HT increased the risk of developing breast cancer relative to those women not on hormone therapy.
For our patients of have premature ovarian failure (POF) and/or need hormone replacement therapy and have no uterus, this newer data should be considered and discussed with your gynecologist, as to whether or not to add progesterone to the treatment regimen. The use HT was to always be weighted for the risks versus the benefits, especially on bone and cardiac function. Importantly, although breast cancer incidence was increased in HT groups, there was no increase in the risk of fatal breast cancer, either in the combined or estrogen-only therapy, Dr. Chen stressed. This is something we are continuing to investigate.
These findings have the potential to increase the confusion regarding HT and perhaps reignite the hormone therapy debate. However, they should be considered in their proper context. “While the relative risk of developing breast cancer is increased, the absolute risks associated with HT are low”.
From OB.GYN. NEWS, May 2012 @ www.obgynnews.com
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