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More Bad News From HRT Study

More Bad News From HRT Study

Friday, March 24th 2006

The most common hormone replacement drug therapy not only increases the risk of breast cancer in post-menopausal women, but also makes cancer harder to detect with mammography, says a new report.

The American finding is the latest in a continuing stream of bad news for preparations that combine oestrogen and progestogen.

The hormones have been shown to halt or reverse osteoporosis, lessen the risk of hip fractures and prevent uterine cancer.

But the United States Government stopped its study on long-term use last year after it showed the oestrogen-progestogen combination sold as Wyeth's Prempro carried an increased risk of ovarian cancer, heart attack, and stroke.

Wyeth has won US Government approval to market lower-dose versions of its hormone replacement therapy (HRT) drug which it says address the risk problems.

Tuesday's report covers a closer analysis of findings in the halted study, the Women's
Health Initiative.

The new research, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, affirmed the breast cancer problem, finding a 26 per cent increase in the risk of that cancer for women taking oestrogen plus progestogen.

But the report, from Harbour-UCLA Research and Education Institute, Torrance, California, also found that the cancers tend to be diagnosed at more advanced stages and result in substantial increases in abnormal mammograms.

In an editorial in the same issue commenting on the study, Peter Gann and Monica Morrow, physicians at the Feinberg School of Medicine, at North-western University in Chicago, said: "The ability of combined hormone therapy to decrease mammographic sensitivity creates an almost unique situation in which an agent increases the risk of developing a disease while simultaneously delaying its detection.

"It strongly suggests that the breast cancers related to oestrogen plus progestogen use are not 'good' (easily treatable) ones, that they occur earlier than expected based on some previous studies, that there are no easily identified subgroups at higher risk and that, to top it off, women using oestrogen plus progestogen experience a much higher rate of mammographic abnormalities leading to anxiety and further costly work-ups"

The halted study involved 16,608 post-menopausal women, some of whom received combination hormone treatment, others an inert placebo.

The new research report said there was an "absolute increase in abnormal mammograms of about 4 per cent per year in women receiving oestrogen plus progestogen" That translated into about 120,000 otherwise avoidable abnormal mammograms a year for the 3 million US post-menopausal women using that hormone regimen.

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health paid for the study.

In a second study published in the same journal, researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre, in Seattle, said they found there was a breast cancer risk even when progestogen is not taken every day in combination with oestrogen - so-called sequential treatment. They looked at 51 published studies.

Sourced from the New Zealand Herald, 28 June 2003

Footnote from Ideal Health:

The following products are all useful for HRT alternatives :

Black Cohosh Standardised
Estrosoy Plus
Femaprin
Femzone
Maca Gold
Meno-Life
Self Test Female Hormone Test Kit
Vitex

Related health information can be found here:

7-Keto DHEA, the fountain of youth hormone
Calcium Deficiency
Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus castus) as a hormone balancer
DIM Plus to assist in cancer prevention
Herbal phytoestrogens and menopause
Hormonal Changes
Infertility
Menopause
Menustrual Problems
Suffering from menopausal symptoms? Femitone may help

Related articles can be found here:

Current Combined HRT Use Doubles Risk of Breast Cancer
Doctors to Curtail Hormone Therapy
Estrogen-Progestin Associated With Increased Risk of Stroke and Dementia
Fat Intake Linked to Breast Cancer in Premenopausal Women
HRT Study Raised Red Flags
Low Bone Mineral Density Linked to Dementia in Women
Menopause Not Linked to Decline in Cognitive Functioning
Soy Protein With Isoflavones Has Favorable Effect on Lipids in Postmenopausal Women

If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.

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