According to a study conducted by scientists from the Institute of Cancer Research in London, women who had been on HRT have 60% higher chances of developing cancer.
The study was conducted on 39,000 women from Britain who were monitored dring their menopause.
It’s been shown that women who took combined form of HRT (the therapy contained progesterone and oestrogen) have 2.7 times higher risk of developing breast cancer over a period of time of five years than those women who weren’t receiving this treatment.
A major trial from 2002 showed that HRT increased the risk of developing breast cancer and did not reduce heart disease. But, ghostwritten articles that appeared right after the study, claimed that there was no general agreement on Prempro’s breast cancer risk.
Generally, menopause occurs between the late 40s and early 50s. It manifests through hot flashes, depression, night sweats and headaches, sometimes it can cause memory loss and bone disease on the long term. To cope with the symptoms, many women decide on taking ‘natural’ hormones, but the term “natural” can be interpreted in a number of ways.
HRT calm symptoms by replacing progesterone and oestrogen, which are the female hormones that the body stops producing. This raises the risk of developing cancer.
Naturally, 14 out of 1000 women in their 50s are expected to develop breast cancer in a period of time of 5 years, whereas 34 out of 1000 women are to develop breast cancer if on a combined HRT.
The longer the therapy is taken, the higher the risk is. Women who have been taking HRT for 15 or more years have 3.3 times bigger chances of developing breast cancer.
Today, women who want to start with HRT are warned to take minimal dosage, or better to never start or quit the therapy. Still, they are scared that once they quit the therapy, the menopause symptoms will return. But, according to researchers, once the women stopped taking HRT, the cancer risk returned to normal.
Professor Anthony Swerdlow, the leader f the study, stated that the research showed that some previous studies have probably underestimated the risk of breast cancer related with HRT. He also stated that their findings provide information which will make it possible for women to make decisions based on information about the possible benefits and risks of the use of HRT. Moreover, the study included more than 100,000 women.
According to Baroness Delyth Morgan, the chief executive at Breast Cancer Now, using or not HRT is a personal choice completely and it is crucial that women are aware of the risk it brings. Moreover, some women consider HRT a necessity.
Still, the good news is that cancer risk drops when women quit taking HRT, beside it being helpful with menopause symptoms.