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News2012April › 'Safe' HRT raises breast cancer risk after 10 years › April 2012

'Safe' HRT raises breast cancer risk after 10 years

The 'safe' type of HRT (hormone replacement therapy) isn't safe at all

The 'safe' type of HRT (hormone replacement therapy) isn't safe at all. Estrogen-only HRT is almost as likely to cause breast cancer as its 'dangerous' counterpart, especially among women who have taken it for more than 10 years.
Doctors started prescribing estrogen-only HRT after studies discovered that estrogen-plus-progesterone therapy doubled the risk for breast cancer.
But researchers have now discovered that the risk is also high for women taking estrogen-only therapy; after taking it for 15 years or longer, women run a 43 per cent greater risk for breast cancer compared to those who've never taken HRT. The risk keeps getting greater the longer you take HRT, says lead researcher Wendy Chen from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Researchers had assumed that estrogen-only HRT was safe because the risk doesn't become apparent until it has been used for 10 years or longer - and researchers hadn't looked for that length of time.
(Source: AACR annual meeting, March 31, 2012).


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