Another study has confirmed that the recent drop in breast cancer rates is due to reduced use of combination hormone therapy (CHT) such as Prempro. In the past, Wyeth, the maker of Prempro, has criticized similar studies by claiming they fail to account for a decline in screening mammography. However, lead researcher in the study, Dr. Karla Kerlikowske, who is with the Veterans’ Administration and the University of California, San Francisco, says this is “the only study that has looked at a purely screened population.” She believes the study definitely says “it’s not because of screening.” Dr. Kerlikowske and her team published their findings in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
It was estimated that the declining use of CHT could account for 17,500 fewer hormone positive breast cancer cases each year. While this is encouraging news for the future, it is sad to realize how many hormone positive breast cancers have been caused by CHT over the past 30 plus years.
The recent drop in breast cancer rates coincide with a rapid decline in CHT usage starting in 2002 when the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) was halted early after researchers found elevated risks, including breast cancer. This led to a black box warning being put on CHT drugs such as Prempro. It’s important to note that WHI was a government funded study. Wyeth has never conducted a long-term study to look at the breast cancer risk from CHT. Had Wyeth done so in the 1970s, when they knew of a relationship between their hormone drugs and cancer, clearly there would have been many fewer hormone positive breast cancers. Dr. Jay Brooks, chairman of oncology at the Ochsner Health System in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, says:
The problem is, we’ve grown so used in the past forty or fifty years to having women take hormones that it is hard to break that paradigm shift. A lot of women and a lot of doctors think that if I take hormones, I’m going to stay youthful, and that is a hard thing to break. But, the data is the data.
As I’ve reported in previous issues, our firm represents a number of women who have been diagnosed with hormone positive breast cancer as a result of CHT, including Prempro. Our CHT team continues to prepare for a trial, which has now been rescheduled to January 2008 in Minnesota. Ted Meadows, Russ Abney and Melissa Prickett are the primary lawyers handling the CHT cases for our firm. They will try the case with lawyers from the firms of Pearson, Randall, Schumacher, P.A., located in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Littlepage, Booth from Houston, Texas. Ted, Russ and Melissa are also in the process of preparing other CHT cases for trial. We will keep you advised of all future developments.
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.