Hormone replacement therapy, also commonly called HRT, is a controversial subject. It is ususally agreed that replacement hormones can help a woman deal with the symptoms and side effects of menopause. What is not agreed on are the risks involved with taking hormones. Many doctors and researches believe that taking hormone replacement therapy drastically increases a woman’s chance of developing breast cancer. Others feel that the risk is only slight and in women who have a family history of breast cancer.
There are several studies that supports the claim of increase breast cancer risk among users of HRT. One study showed that after studying a million women taking replacement hormones, menopausal women taking hormone prescriptions were twice as likely to develop breast cancer than menopausal women who did not take the drugs. This study also showed that among 1000 menopausal women who did not take hormones, there will be around 32 cases of confirmed breast cancer between the ages of 50 and 65. For 1000 woman of the same age taking estrogen only hormones, there will be about 37 cases of breast cancer. It also shows that omen who take the combined estrogen and progestogen prescipriotns for ten years, there will be 51 cases of breast cancer.
In addition, this same study concludes that the risks of breast cancer begins to rise within one to two years of taking hormone replacement therapy. The chance of developing breast cancer rises each year that it is taken. Over a long period of time, women do increase their risk of breast cancer by taking replacement hormones. When the prescriptions are stopped, that risk immediatley begins to fall and after five years, these women will have the same risks of women that have never taken the drugs.
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There are many studies that show this same information about the increased risks of breast cancer. However, there are those who feel that these risks are overestimated and that normal, healthy women, who have no history of breast cancer can safely take hormone replacement therapy. In fact, some doctors and researchers feel that taking hormone replacement will not trigger breast cancer even in women who have had breast cancer in the past.
In addition, caution is usually used with woman who have had breast cancer. It is believed that hormone replacement therapy might also increase the chances of heart related diseases. Because cancer increase the risk of this anyway, hormones can put a recovering cancer patient at even greater risk.
Most doctors will take a more conservative approach to prescribing hormone replacement therapy to any woman. If a woman has a difficult time handling the symptoms and side effects of menopause and wants help, they might consider HRT. Before prescribing hormones to women, a doctor will look into the woman’s medical history and carefully review her health history. A woman who is concerned with the risks of breast cancer in relation to hormone replacement therapy should speak to her doctor and carefully weigh the pros and cons of the therapy.