A sweeping new analysis adds to the evidence that many women who take hormone therapy during menopause are more likely to develop breast cancer — and remain at higher risk of cancer for more than a decade after they stop taking the drugs. The study, published Thursday in the Lancetlooked at data from dozens of studies, including long-term data on more thanwomen who developed breast cancer after menopause. The longer women took the medicine, the more likely they were to develop breast cancer.
Hormones have an important role in our bodies. They play a role in controlling things like growth, fertility and our mood. After the menopause, the ovaries stop producing the female sex hormone oestrogen.
CNN Certain hormone replacement therapies have long been tied to an increased risk of breast cancer. Now, new research suggests that in some cases, that risk can persist for more than a decade. Chat with us in Facebook Messenger.
This summary table contains detailed information about research studies. Summary tables are a useful way to look at the science behind many breast cancer guidelines and recommendations. Learn how to read a research table.
Current or recent past users of hormonal replacement therapy HRT have a higher risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer. Before the link between HRT use and breast cancer risk was established, many postmenopausal women took HRT for many years to ease menopausal symptoms hot flashes, fatigue and to reduce bone loss. Still, many women continue to use HRT to handle bothersome menopausal symptoms.
Taking post-menopausal hormone therapy PHTalso called hormone replacement therapy HRTto help with menopause symptoms may not be safe for women who have had breast cancer. If you are bothered by menopause symptoms, talk to your doctor about other ways to get help. Many women have menopause symptoms such as hot flashes after treatment for breast cancer.
Back to Cancer. Hormone replacement therapy HRT is taken to relieve menopausal symptoms such as night sweats and hot flushes. But it's long been recognised that HRT is linked to an increased risk of breast, womb and ovarian cancers, as well as the risk of cardiovascular problems such as blood clots.
MHT usually involves treatment with estrogen alone or estrogen plus progestina synthetic hormone whose effects are similar to those of progesterone. Women who have a uterus —that is, who have not had a hysterectomy —are generally prescribed estrogen plus progestin for MHT. This is because estrogen alone is associated with an increased risk of endometrial cancerbut estrogen plus progestin is not.
Hormone therapy for breast cancer is a treatment for breast cancers that are sensitive to hormones. The most common forms of hormone therapy for breast cancer work by blocking hormones from attaching to receptors on cancer cells or by decreasing the body's production of hormones. Hormone therapy is only used for breast cancers that are found to have receptors for the naturally occurring hormones estrogen or progesterone.
The risk of breast cancer from using hormone replacement therapy is double what was previously thought, according to a major piece of research, which confirms that HRT is a direct cause of the cancer. The findings of the definitive study will cause concern among the 1 million women in the UK and millions more around the world who are using HRT. It finds that the longer women take it, the greater their risk, with the possibility that just one year is risk-free. It also finds that the risk does not go away as soon as women stop taking it, as had been previously assumed.