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Breast cancer and hormone therapy -- A looking-glass mirror?

ted annual incidence rate of both estrogen receptor-positive and -negative breast cancers (Figure 3[1]). Therefore, the decrease of breast cancer incidence analyzed from different angles by Glass and colleagues cannot be attributed simply to the drop in HT use, which started after the publication of the WHI study. There must be another, non-hormonal and still unknown factor explaining, at least in part, these changes in incidence since 1998.

Professor Pines concludes that the new epidemiological data coming from the Kaiser Permanente study do have scientific merits, but may be confusing when interpreted for the lay public. Health-care providers should stay with the first-grade information coming from the WHI study when discussing this issue with their patients: breast-wise, in women younger than 60, HT (particularly estrogen-alone) is safe. Long-term use may be associated with a small increased risk, in the order of one extra case per 1000 women per year. Discontinuation of HT brings this risk back to the values for age-matched non-users after 35 years. Weighing the overall benefits and risks of HT in the younger postmenopausal population clearly favors the use of HT for symptomatic women.


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Contact: Jean Wright
jwright.ims@btopenworld.com
International Menopause Society
24-Jul-2007


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