Tuesday, August 22, 2006

ET and the risk of breast cancer

As many of you know, I spend a lot of time reading about menopausal therapy. I not only want to give you the best and the latest information on traveling these middle years in health and style, I have an immediate and PERSONAL need to know.

No surprise that the heart of the hormone controversy is the association between breast cancer and the ongoing use of hormones after menopause. The Women's Health Initiative results released in 2002 clearly demonstrated that a combination of Premarin and Provera was associated with a slight but significant and increasing risk of breast cancer after four years of use. But data from the estrogen-only arm of the trial suggested that up to five years of use may be associated with a slightly decreased risk of breast tumors.

Information is now available from twenty-plus years and more than 28,000 nurses who reported on their use of estrogen alone and their incidence of breast cancer as part of the Nurses' Health Study. While use of estrogen for up to 10 years was indeed associated with a very slight decrease in breast cancer risk, the incidence of hormone-receptor positive breast cancer--which generally carries a more favorable prognosis than hormone-receptor negative cases--was significantly increased after 15 years of use.

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