More on breast cancer and HRT

Posted by on Sep 21, 2009 in HRT | 2 comments

When it comes to HRT, the verdict is pretty dismal. Data continue to accumulate demonstrating that the risks associated with HRT may greatly outweigh the benefits. The question is however, when do we finally stop the madness and remove it from the market?

In the interim, I’ve got additional information to share you need to know when considering taking HRT: When HRT  is started and the type of HRT used can influence a woman’s risk for developing breast cancer.

Researchers examined data from over 53,000 postmenopausal women, revealing that 1,726 invasive breast cancers developed over a period of approximately eight years. They also looked at hormone use, including type, when started and how long they were taken.

Key findings, which are published in the online edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, showed:

  • Taking HRT (estrogen-progestogen) for two years or less within three years after starting menopause increased breast cancer risk by 54%.
  • Taking HRT (estrogen -progestogen) for two years or less starting more than three years after menopause did not affect breast cancer risk.
  • Regardless of when menopause started, prolonged use of HRT (estrogen-progestogen, more than two years) increased breast cancer risk.
  • Hormone treatments containing progesterone did not increase risk of breast cancer if taken for two years or less. (Most hormone treatments in the US contain synthetic progestogens rather than natural progesterone.)

The takeaway is that timing of HRT and how long HRT is taken can significantly affect risk for developing breast cancer. 54% is a significant figure and women considering HRT for their menopausal symptoms should closely examine overall risks and benefits before taking the HRT plunge.


  1. 9-21-2009

    “54% is a significant figure”… I’d say so! Makes risks and benefits assessment a bit more clearcut to me….

    • 9-21-2009

      A similar figure has been reported previously. But this study adds more fodder to the contention that HRT is simply an unsafe and unwise way to balance hormones. There are other similarly effective and way safer options.


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