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General Health : Diseases Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

Hormone therapy increases breast cancer risk
By Ben Wasserman
Dec 15, 2008 - 8:33:44 AM

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Monday Dec 15, 2008 ( -- 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 Symposium.


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 hormones.   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 users.


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.

© 2004-2008 by unless otherwise specified

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