If you or someone you know are taking Hormone Replacement Therapy, Listen up to what a British study has found. Older women who are using a combination of estrogen and progesterone HRT are tripling their chances of developing breast cancer.
During this time, 775 of these women developed breast cancer, with the researchers finding that women using combined HRT (for a median duration of 5.4 years) were 2.7 times more likely to develop breast cancer during the period of HRT use than women who had never used HRT.
This risk increased with duration of use, with women who had used combined HRT for over 15 years being 3.3 times more likely to develop breast cancer than non-users. However in women using oestrogen-only HRT there was no overall increase seen in breast cancer risk compared with women who had never used HRT.
Importantly, this increased risk level has been found to return to about normal once HRT use ends: after a year or two had gone by since women stopped taking combined HRT the scientists did not find a significantly increased risk of breast cancer, confirming the findings of previous studies.
Study leader Professor Anthony Swerdlow, Professor of Epidemiology at ICR said: “Our research shows that some previous studies are likely to have underestimated the risk of breast cancer with combined oestrogen-progestogen HRT. We found that current use of combined HRT increases the risk of breast cancer by up to three fold, depending on how long HRT has been used.
“Our findings provide further information to allow women to make informed decisions about the potential risks and benefits of HRT use.”