Recent study by Dr. Rowan Chlebowski shows that women who undergo hormone-replacement therapy (HRT) to treat symptoms of menopause are at increased risk of developing all categories of breast cancer.
The findings back up the results of a study published last year that suggested HRT increased the risk of all categories of breast cancer. Before that study, doctors thought that HRT only increased the risk of less-serious cancers, said study researcher Dr. Rowan Chlebowski, of the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute.
In the study, postmenopausal women on hormone replacement therapy that included both estrogen and progestin were 1.5 times more likely to develop breast cancer.
HRT increased the risk of breast cancers that have a low risk of recurrence, such as estrogen-receptor-positive cancers, as well as the risk of more aggressive breast cancers, such as triple-negative breast cancer.
The new findings lead to more of a consensus on the link between HRT and breast cancer, and suggest doctors should exercise even more caution when prescribing the treatment, Dr. Chlebowski said.
The decision to start HRT should be made on a case-by-case basis, Chlebowski said. Women should speak with their doctors about the risks and benefits of the therapy. The benefits will be greater for those with more severe symptoms of menopause, Chlebowski said.
“As a breast cancer survivor it would appear to be the combination but for safety sake I would do without both. I would rather have hot flashes any day, than cancer anywhere.” says Sharon a breast-cancer survivor while commenting on the study.
The National Institutes of Health has stated that if women decide to receive HRT, they should take the lowest dose for the shortest amount of time, and be re-evaluated every six months to see if they still need the treatment.
Breast Cancer patient who hide her original name commented on the topic while using surname of Silver-Moon “also they don’t mention whether compounded bi-estrogen alone is OK. HRT from drug companies is composed of mare’s urine, which probably doesn’t mesh well with a human’s hormones. Compounded bi-estrogen seems to be the best way to go. I’ve been on it for almost 7 yrs. now without any problems.”
Recently, several doctors groups said that for women under age 60, or for those who reached menopause within the past 10 years, the benefits of HRT generally outweigh the risks.
The link between HRT use and an increased risk of breast cancer was first seen in 2002, when a large study on the effects of estrogen and progestin therapy was suspended because researchers found the treatment increased the risk of invasive breast cancer..
The new study analyzed information from 41,000 postmenopausal women ages 50 to 79, about half of whom were taking HRT (estrogen plus progestin) at some point in the study, and half who were not on the therapy.
During the study period, about 2,200 women were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. Among those who took HRT, 0.6 percent developed breast cancer each year, compared with 0.42 percent for those who weren’t on HRT.
The findings support what doctors have already been doing to recognize the risk of breast cancer with HRT, said Dr. Erin Olson, an oncologist at Ohio State’s James Cancer Hospital.
Using HRT drugs is also a debatable pint among health experts and survivors of the diseases. Bob, Another U.S. citizen who faced the cancer very closely says “My wife died from breast cancer and I think it was the result of her taking HRT drugs. And there wasn’t a damn thing they could do to save her.”
The study was published in the March 29 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.