Over the years, there have been numerous studies which show that hormone therapy increases the risk of breast cancer in women. It is now well accepted that hormone therapy is a cause of breast cancer. The good news is that new research suggests the risk of breast cancer drops dramatically within two years of stopping therapy. Rowan Chlebowski, lead author of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine says, “It looks like after a couple of years a woman is pretty much back to normal. That’s very encouraging.” Chlebowski’s analysis of data from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), a significant federal study, showed that breast cancer risks fell rapidly in the first two years after ceasing treatment, even though their screening mammogram rate didn’t change. This new data shows that a simple decline in the rate of screening mammograms can not explain the decline in breast cancer rates: the only plausible explanation is the obvious one: the reduction in hormone therapy use.
Consisted with this new data from WHI, a group of Belgian researchers have just published a study using the Limburg Cancer Registry, HRT vendors and their social security system which shows the incidence of breast cancer in that area, as in the rest of the world, rose markedly until 2002. In 2002 HRT usage fell by 41% as a result of the WHI trial being terminated (the study was terminate because women receiving HRT were getting breast cancer at an alarming rate), and that the rate of breast cancer rate decreased significantly in 2003 and 2004.
The Wall Street Journal has recently reported that 210,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer each year before 2002. We have seen that number drop to less than 190,000 each year and remain lower through 2005. While many doctors still hold the position that hormones used during menopause are safe, they recommend that women should take these drugs for as few years as possible and at the lowest effective dose and only if they are experiencing severe menopause symptoms that significantly affect their quality of life.
Source: USA Today and Wall Street Journal
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