Health

Hormone therapies slightly increase breast cancer risk, even a decade later — study

Sunday, September 01, 2019

Print this page Email A Friend!


PARIS, France (AFP) — Hormone therapy to relieve menopause symptoms slightly increases the risk of breast cancer, according to a large-scale study published Friday in The Lancet.

Other research has established a similar link, but the new study is the first to show that the risk remains elevated even 10 years after treatment has stopped.

It also quantifies for the first time the level of risk associated with different types of menopause hormone therapy (MHT).

The chance that a women between 50 and 69 who has never undergone MHT will contract breast cancer is about 6.3 in a 100.

By comparison, a woman in that age bracket who takes oestrogen and, intermittently, progestagen for five years stands a 7.7 in 100 chance of getting the disease.

If — in the same scenario — progestagen use is daily, the risk goes up again: 8.3 in 100.

Finally, an oestrogen-only regimen is closest to the no-hormones baseline, with a 6.8 out of 100 risk.

More prolonged use carries even higher risk, said co-author Gillian Reeves from the University of Oxford.

“Use of MHT for 10 years results in about twice the excess breast cancer risk compared to five years of use,” she said in a statement.

“But there appears to be little risk from use of menopausal hormone therapy for less than one year.”

The topical use of vaginal oestrogens, applied as a cream, is also relatively risk-free, she added.

Women tend to begin MHT at the start of menopause when ovarian function ceases, causing oestrogen levels to fall substantially.

At the same time, progesterone levels fall to near zero.

As a consequence, many women experience uncomfortable “hot flushes” that can be alleviated by replacing the naturally depleted hormones.

Regulatory bodies in Europe and the United States recommend that MHT be reduced to the shortest time needed, but usage has tended to average at least five years.

In North America and Europe, MHT increased rapidly during the 1990s, halved abruptly in the early 2000s, and then stabilised about ten years ago.

“Our new findings indicate that some increased risk persists even after stopping use of MHT,” said co-author Valerie Beral, a professor at the University of Oxford.

Beral and colleagues examined data from 58 previous studies around the world from 1992 to 2018 that recorded MHT use. Within the data set, 108,647 women subsequently developed breast cancer, at an average age of 65.

Researchers were then able to look for statistical links between cancer rates, on the one hand, and type along with duration of treatment, on the other.


Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaperlive


ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT