Postmenopausal women who receive hormone replacement therapy (HRT) have a higher chance of developing aggressive breast cancer according to a recent study. The study, conducted by the Women’s Health Initiative, further found that said women also have high risk of dying from the disease.
From an ABC News report:
The results, from an 11-year follow up with more than 12,000 women who were randomly assigned to receive either the combination hormone therapy or a placebo, found 385 women taking the therapy developed an aggressive form of breast cancer, compared to 293 in the placebo group. Twenty-five women who took hormone therapy died from breast cancer during the study, compared to 12 women in the placebo group.
Thus, when you are currently undergoing HRT, Assistant Professor of Breast Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center Dr. Jennifer Litton in Houston has a suggestion: consult your doctor as to whether you really need HRT or not.
Study lead author and Professor of Medicine at the University of California Dr. Rowan Chlebowski said women in the study who used estrogen and progestin for five and a half years were at higher risk of developing breast cancer. The five and a half year-span is considered long-term use of the therapy.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved HRT to reduce the risk of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women as well as to prevent hot flashes.