Hormone therapy raises cancer risk

January 16, 2008

Menopausal women who take hormone combinations for their symptoms are more likely to get an uncommon type of breast cancer much earlier than experts believed.

The new findings, released Monday by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, link lobular breast cancer to combination hormonal therapy used to combat hot flashes, night sweats and other symptoms of menopause, The Seattle Times reported Tuesday.

Lobular breast cancer is uncommon but particularly elusive because the cancer doesn't form lumps in the breast.

Most researchers have assumed it takes five years of combined-hormone therapy before the overall risk of developing breast cancer is elevated significantly. But the new study found women who took estrogen and progestin every day for as few as three years were about three times more likely to develop lobular breast cancer than those who had never taken hormones.

Dr. Nancy Tipton, a gynecologist with Virginia Mason Medical Center, said the study shouldn't change anything for patients who take the lowest possible doses for the shortest possible time.

"Nothing is risk-free. A lot of women really need combination hormones for a while because they're miserable," said Tipton, who estimated that a quarter of her menopausal patients need estrogen-progestin to control their symptoms.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Explore further: Breast density, no lobular involution increase breast cancer risk

Related Stories

Alcohol intake increases certain types of breast cancer

August 23, 2010

Alcohol increases the risk of lobular and hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, but not necessarily invasive ductal carcinomas, according to a study published August 23 online in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Cow embryos reveal new type of chromosome chimera

May 27, 2016

I've often wondered what happens between the time an egg is fertilized and the time the ball of cells that it becomes nestles into the uterine lining. It's a period that we know very little about, a black box of developmental ...

Shaving time to test antidotes for nerve agents

February 29, 2016

Imagine you wanted to know how much energy it took to bike up a mountain, but couldn't finish the ride to the peak yourself. So, to get the total energy required, you and a team of friends strap energy meters to your bikes ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.