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Long term estrogen therapy is linked to breast cancer

05/16/2006 - News

Long term estrogen therapy is linked to breast cancer

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD

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Long term estrogen therapy is linked to breast cancer

Reported by Susan Aldridge, PhD, medical journalist

According to a long-running study, women who have had a hysterectomy and take estrogen are at increased risk of breast cancer.
There have been many concerns over the use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and women's long-term health. A new report from the long-running Nurses Health Study now focuses attention on breast cancer risk.

Researchers followed up 11,508 women who were postmenopausal and had had a hysterectomy. They asked about their use of HRT and reviewed medical records of those who developed breast cancer. During the study period, there were 934 invasive breast cancers - 226 among women who had never used hormones and 708 among those who were using estrogen. The longer a woman was on estrogen, the higher her risk of breast cancer. Taking HRT for less than ten years led to no more greater risk than never taking it.

The risk was greatest for that subgroup of cancers that was estrogen receptor positive and proegesterone receptor positive. Women may consider long-term treatment with HRT for prevention or treatment of osteoporosis - if they do, this increased breast cancer risk needs to be taken into account.

Source
Archives of Internal Medicine 8th May 2006 Volume 166 pages 1027-1032

Created on: 05/16/2006
Reviewed on: 05/16/2006

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