Hormones and Breast Cancer

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) refers to estrogen and progesterone (or synthetic progestins) used alone or in combination to alleviate menopausal symptoms by replacing hormones that decline due to aging. In 2002, a large study known as the Women’s Health Initiative concluded that a popular form of estrogen (conjugated equine estrogens) in combination with the progestin medroxyprogesterone acetate increased the risk of breast cancer. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force then recommended against routine, long-term HRT for the prevention of chronic conditions. Later studies found inconsistent evidence regarding breast cancer risk of estrogen plus progestin versus estrogen alone. Additionally, risks were found to vary with different types of estrogen, the addition of a synthetic progestin, and timing (when HRT was started in relation to menopause). HRT can improve heart, bone, and sexual health as well as cognitive function and overall quality of life. Fear may stop some women from receiving this potentially beneficial treatment. Ask our pharmacist for more information. 

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