Taking hormones such as estrogen and progestin to relieve
menopausal symptoms for five years doubles the risk for breast cancer,
according to a new study presented at Saturday at the San Antonio Breast cancer
The study led by Dr. Rowan Chlebowski of Harbor-UCLA
Medical Center in Los Angeles showed that even if using estrogen and progestin
pills for a couple of years increased breast cancer drastically.
The study also found that it would take roughly two years
for the risk of breast cancer to return to a normal risk level.
The study was based on data from the Women's Health
Initiative which was intended to test estrogen and progestin pills to see their
effect on heart disease, bone loss and other health problems.
Part of the study discontinued in 2002 as elevated risk
of heart disease and breast cancer was found in subjects who used
Specifically, those who took
Prempro (an estrogen and progestin mixture) were 26 percent more likely to
contract breast cancer than those who did not use.
The results mean, according to the Associated Press, that
use of hormones resulted in a few extra cases of breast cancer for every 1,000
The second part of the study that lasted seven years
through July 2005 showed that hormone users started with 100 percent increased
risk of breast cancer and then the risk was on the decline as more women
quitted using hormones.
Hormones are used to relieve menopausal symptoms like hot
flashes although hormones have been known to pose health risks.
Women who do not want to subject themselves to the
elevated breast cancer risk may consider using alternative remedies.
Studies showed that using roasted soy nuts
relieved menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes.
Natural hormones found in animals are probably 10,000
times riskier than environmental estrogenic compounds, a Harvard scientist told
her colleagues at Harvard University.
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