An independent panel of leading cancer clinicians was brought together to evaluate and summarize the cancer risks for women taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Health risks associated with HRT came to public attention in 2002. A widely publicized report linked the common menopause treatments (estrogen and progestin pills) with an increased risk for heart disease, stroke and breast cancer in some women.
Since then, there has been much debate about the value and potential hazards of taking hormones for alleviating menopausal symptoms.
After reviewing the results from several key large-scale clinical studies on women taking HRT and multiple research reports, the panel recommended:
•Short-term, not long-term, use of HRT to reduce hot flashes and night sweats
•Women with a history of breast cancer not use HRT as a first-choice treatment
•All women be informed about the risks and benefits of HRT in order to make an informed decision about using HRT
•Women over the age of 50 receive regular breast exams whether they receive HRT or not
Additionally the panel states "that any woman on HRT who is concerned should not stop the treatment immediately. She should make a routine appointment with her GP to discuss her particular situation and the risks and benefits of continuing HRT."
Cancerbackup website, 2007: overview and risks related to HRT
MayoClinic, 2006. "Hormone Replacement Therapy: Benefits and Alternatives"