Wednesday, October 20, 2010
According to a landmark US study, women who take a popular hormone replacement drug after menopause not only increase their chances of getting breast cancer but also face an increased risk of dying from breast cancer. Yet Millions of women still take them?
The new breast cancer findings surprised even some experts who have remained more supportive of hormone use.
The study of more than 12,000 women who were followed for about 11 years produced powerful evidence that deaths from breast cancer were more common among hormone-users.
"Women taking estrogen plus progestin are at greater risk from dying from the two leading causes of cancer death in women," said Rowan T. Chlebowski of the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, who led the analysis.
Chlebowski said he was confident that the risk was real, and others said the actual risk was probably far greater.
"This really is a paradigm shift," said Hugh S. Taylor, chief of reproductive endocrinology at Yale University. "There was a whole group of people, including myself, who had been thinking hormone use was associated with an increased detection of breast cancer but not necessarily an increase risk of death from breast cancer. But this really nails it."
The previous study reported on earlier this week found that hormone use appeared to double the relative risk of dying from breast cancer. In the new study, 25 women among those taking the hormones died from breast cancer, compared with 12 among those who took a placebo. The increased risk translates into 2.6 vs. 1.3 deaths from breast cancer each year for every 10,000 women taking hormones, or about 1.3 additional deaths, the study found.
But typically and as can be expected from the money hungry medical profession - "Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water," Taylor said. "Hormonal symptoms can really be life-changing for many women - changing their ability to concentrate, their mood, their personality. It can be really horrendous. Just because there is a very small risk associated with a therapy doesn't necessarily mean we completely abandon it." HE MUST BE (sic) JOKING, right?
In 2002, more than 110 million prescriptions for hormones were filled; by 2009, the number had dropped to about 40 million, according to IMS Health, which tracks prescription drug sales.
Breast cancer diagnoses subsequently started to drop. It helped explain one of the biggest mysteries about breast cancer - why the number of cases rose steadily for decades: Hormone use probably played a key role in the increased cases of breast cancer.
Peter B. Bach, an epidemiologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York who wrote an editorial accompanying the new report said "I don't mean to be alarmist, but when it comes to hormone replacement therapy, we've been wrong, wrong and wrong about this stuff." and he concluded with "I just don't have the confidence to say that we know that any duration of therapy is safe."
Read the full article here :
Post-menopausal hormones boost breast cancer risk, study finds
By Rob Stein
Washington Post Staff Writer