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August 10th, 2010
01:01 PM ET

Hormones and breast cancer: What women should consider

Over the years, numerous studies have shown that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) increases a woman's risk of developing breast cancer. But to many women, questions about side effects, hormone combinations and length of hormone use are still unanswered, causing confusion. And some continue to take hormones to relieve menopausal symptoms because they don't know where they fall in the HRT spectrum.

In an attempt to clarify the risks versus the benefits, a report published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, and conducted by researchers at the University of Southern California, looked at data from a large trial group, called the California Teachers Study. Investigators were particularly interested in the more than 2,800 women in the study who were diagnosed with breast cancer.

When looking at hormone use, investigators found women who reported using just estrogen therapy for 15 years or more had a 19 percent greater risk of breast cancer compared with women who never used hormone therapy.  And for women who used an estrogen and progestin combination or EPT for more than 15 years, their risk of developing breast cancer jumped to 83 percent.

"This is evidence that the story is complicated," said Dr. Tanmai Saxena, an MD/PhD student at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. "The benefits of hormone therapy for relief of postmenopausal symptoms among women are clear, but the risks are more complicated than we had previously thought."

Risk also varied according to a woman's BMI or body mass index with the greater risks for thinner women. That was surprising, because other studies have shown obesity to be linked to breast cancer. But when using hormones the statistics were different. Those with a BMI less than 30 appeared to have an increased risk of breast cancer with combined hormone therapy; while the risk was strongest among women with BMI less than 25. In contrast, obese women or those with a BMI of 30 or higher, had no further increase in risk associated with using combined hormone therapy.

Susan Hankinson, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and senior editor of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention said the findings show that even with the recent trials on HRT, such as the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) and the California Teachers Study, there are still questions that remain.

"These results add new evidence that risk does vary by other personal characteristics," notes Hankinson. " However, for now, the public health message remains essentially the same. There is an increased risk of breast cancer from hormone use, and further studies will address the question of how specific that risk is. "


soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. Thurston Murray

    Male Breast Cancer. So what about it? In the year 2010 the media has a duty to point out that 2,000 men will come down with Breast Cancer and it is NOT simply a female disease. I have been cancer free now for almost 28 years, and I figured by now media would always mention Male Breast Cancer. Thank You, Thurston Murray

    August 10, 2010 at 14:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Pat-San Jose CA

      As you point out, male breast cancer is often overlooked. But this article is about HRT (hormone replacement therapy for women) and breast cancer, so rightfully focuses on females.

      August 10, 2010 at 17:53 | Report abuse |
  2. Jackie

    What about the use of birth control pills?

    August 10, 2010 at 14:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rob

      Jackie: Excellent question!!! Thanks for asking. Notice how few responses or acknowledgments there are? Wonder why?

      August 10, 2010 at 18:45 | Report abuse |
    • Briana

      I would like to know this too. My BMI is only 18 and I am taking BC pills. If I am at the greatest risk for developing breast cancer because of this, I would consider a different birth control method.

      August 10, 2010 at 23:47 | Report abuse |
    • Ak2190

      Taking BC pills may slightly increase your risk of breast cancer while you take them, but your risk goes back to baseline once you stop. Also, you are at much more significant risk if you started your period early, had no children, or have menopause late.

      August 11, 2010 at 00:29 | Report abuse |
    • Donna

      Since women have been taking birth control pills for the last FIFTY YEARS, I would think a correlation would have been made by now if there was one to be made. If anything the hormone doses have been going down over time in these pills, further reducing any risk.

      August 11, 2010 at 11:30 | Report abuse |
  3. Thurston Murray

    I have to write to you and say that by 2010, I would have figured you would tell readers that MEN can and do get Breast Cancer. I know I was diagnosed withe Male Breast Cancer in 1983, and am so thankful it has not returned. This year 2,000 men will be diagnosed with the disease--couldn't you help save a man,s life by mentioning it. Thank You, Thurston Murray

    August 10, 2010 at 14:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. cel

    It is a human disease. We do not spend nearly enough money trying to eliminate cancer like we did polio and other diseases.

    August 10, 2010 at 15:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kath

      Actually this is not just a human disease... animals get it too.

      August 10, 2010 at 15:37 | Report abuse |
    • Donna

      I agree that we should spend more money, but cancer is an extremely complicated set of diseases. There are many different kinds and as such there will never be a silver bullet. More effort should be put into understanding the different types and developing tailored treatments.

      August 11, 2010 at 11:33 | Report abuse |
  5. Concerned

    Why not address post-abortive women with breast cancer? The sudden and unnatural interruption of pregnancy hormones must have a significant effecct on the woman's body. Planned Parenthood should warn girls and women of the potential long-term dangers of using hormonal contraceptives (as well as abortion). If we truly care about eliminating cancer, preventing it, and saving lives, we need to educate our youth and stop the cultural promotion of recreational, 'worry-free' sex. Every action has a consequence.

    August 10, 2010 at 15:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Miruna

      Guess what, being overweight is a risk factor in developing breast cancer but having an abortion is not, not that you'll like to hear the truth, maybe you should get informed; having an abortion is as devastating but not more than having a normal delivery.

      August 10, 2010 at 16:43 | Report abuse |
    • Ak2190

      True, fat cells give off estrogen.

      August 11, 2010 at 00:28 | Report abuse |
    • Donna

      Wow, what are you doing reading a science article anyway?

      August 11, 2010 at 11:34 | Report abuse |
  6. Susan Slattery

    How old were these women when they started on HRT? Read The Estrogen Dilemma on the NY Times web site–the woman who wrote the article started HRT BEFORE menopause, and she takes plant derived versions of estrogen and progesterone. Most HRT comes from horses. She makes a compelling case for the plant derived HRT and starting EARLY.

    August 10, 2010 at 16:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. tanya

    A BIG issue left out of this is the huge difference between synthetic progestins and the natural version, which is what our body's make, progesterone. Why aren't people looking at this? They are NOT the same. Do your reading.

    August 10, 2010 at 16:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Teresa Stevens

    Some hormones are taken in pill form, some in shots, and others as pellets inserted under the skin. My endocrinologist told me that the various ways that hormones are taken, and the source of the hormones (plant, animal, etc) indicate likelihood for cancer as well. Apparently, the studies that have been done, are limited to particular sources of hormones, taken by limited methods. For example, pills must be filtered by the liver. According to what I have read, taken hormones by mouth is the worst in terms of liklihood of developing cancer. Why has so little research been done on various kinds of hormones and various methods of taking them?

    August 10, 2010 at 16:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. tanya

    The more I read the article the more it really irritates me. I think it's irresponsible to equate HRT use with an increased risk for breast cancer without specifying what types of hormone use, and also the delivery method, as the last reader commented.

    August 10, 2010 at 16:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. steve

    What about women who develop breast cancer after undergoing hormone therapy to help with infertility?

    August 10, 2010 at 16:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Donna

      I wonder about this myself.

      August 11, 2010 at 11:35 | Report abuse |
  11. Bonnie

    If I had it to do again...no way. The side effects of chemo and radiation were so much worse than the hot flashes and night sweats. Three years out from breast cancer and still dealing with the treatment side effects.

    August 10, 2010 at 16:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. JanieOne

    My best friend has a chestful of pulmonary embolii after taking HRT for 3 years – despite family history.

    For God's sake, do you own research, argue with your doctors, save your life.

    August 10, 2010 at 16:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Elizabeth

    I work for two breast cancer organizations – one statewide and the other regional. For those people who want more information about this study regarding the kind of HRT used, and the duration, and age groups of the women in the study, you can google the study (the Journal where it was published is included in the article) and read the abstract, if not the entire study. Other studies, not just this one, have reported strong links between HRT and breast cancer risk. Breast cancer is fueled by estrogen and many researchers think that the synthetic hormones and endocrine disrupting chemicals that we are exposed to on a daily basis – not just through HRT – are partly responsible for the rise in breast cancer incidence. There is no peer-reviewed research that has linked abortion with breast cancer – that is a myth perpetuated mainly by opponents of abortion. There is research showing a connection between breast cancer and birth control pills taken when they first came on the market – when the estrogen levels in these pills were much higher than they are now – but very little research showing a link with current birth control pills and breast cancer risk. More research should. and is, being done on all these estrogenic chemicals. Other reputable research centers that have linked estrogenic chemicals to increased risk for breast cancer have studied the chemicals phthalates, bisphenol-A, PCBs, and certain pesticides, all of which have been associated with increase risk for cancer, due to their highly estrogenic activity. A known risk factor is the onset of early puberty, and more and more young girls in the US- aged 6-9 – are starting to enter puberty, also due to their exposure to myriad estrogenic chemicals. For more information, see websites of the Environmental Working Group, and the Breast Cancer Fund in California.

    August 10, 2010 at 18:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Donna

      Excellent and informative comment.

      August 11, 2010 at 11:37 | Report abuse |
    • EricNoot

      To Elizabeth. You work for two breast cancer organizations and you mentioned artificial estrogenic chemicals, such as phthalates, bisphenol-A, PCBs, and certain pesticides, which increase the risk for breast cancer due to their highly estrogenic activity. I would like to know how much your organizations give coverage the problem due to artificial light pollution at night?

      Light at night (LAN) has the effect of disrupting circadian cycles by decreasing nightly and natural melatonin levels in womens' bodies. Without melatonin, womens' natural estrogen and progestrone levels continue to flow without stoppage, 24/7. One large study in Finland found that blind women had half the risk of breast cancer as sighted women. Since they were blind, light did not bother them and they were protected from its harmful effects. Another study, by David E. Blask and George C. Brainard, has shown that light at night (LAN) allows for unimpeded hormonal flow, while dark nights slowed the growth of the breast cancers by 80 percent. Still another study's analysis yielded an estimated 73 percent higher breast cancer incidence in Israeli women in the highest LAN exposed communities compared to the lowest LAN exposed communities. Studies of women who work on rotating night shifts also had increased risks of breast cancer. This shift-work problem is now classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the UN's World Health Organization, as a probable carcinogenic to humans. That puts it in the same class of carcinogens as UV radiation exposure from tanning beds, Kaposi's sarcoma herpes virus/human herpes virus, inorganic lead compounds, creosotes and diesel engine exhaust.

      Elizabeth, I have looked at a few breast cancer awareness organizations about this aspect of the problem, and they either have no information on it or seem to want to avoid any mention of it. It is almost as if they want only to have a pill invented cure the cancer and do nothing or ignore any effort to prevent its causes. Why is this so?

      People wig out due to a chemical spill across the land or in our water, and rightly so. Such chemicals do not belong in the environment, and not only will harm the environment, but will eventually come back to us. But they also have to learn of the importance of the visual irradiation spill that we turn on each and every night. It, too, is artificial, and we have to realize that lights on at night is a harmful, resource wasting and expensive act.

      August 11, 2010 at 12:40 | Report abuse |
  14. Wen

    Almost all of the studies done on HRT and cancer have been done using premarin & progestin. Both are artificial hormones. Gee-horse estrogen causes cancer in humans? Who would have thought! Young woman have lower risk of reproductive cancers because their own, natural hormones act as protectants. Using NATURAL, Bio-identical HRT (which is the plant-based therapy) mimics the hormone levels that we had when were in our 20's. The limited studies that have been done show that bio-identical HRT may actually decrease the risk of breast & other cancers.
    But the drug companies can't make any money from a plant-based product & guess who's funding all the research! Find a doctor who uses bio-identical HRT!!!

    August 10, 2010 at 18:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Diane

      I agree. I had breast cancer 3 years ago, surgery, chemo, and radiation. That put me in menopause with severe side effects. Now I take Bio-idetical HRT and love it.

      August 10, 2010 at 19:16 | Report abuse |
  15. Margie S

    I've taken CES .625 for 10 years after a total hysterectomy at the age of 51. I don't take them for hot flashes/menopause (mine was instant), but to feel absolutely 100% normal, I felt so crappy for so long before my hysterectomy. None of the studies I have read ever address my situtation. I try to be current with info/studies. So really this study is same old same old except for the info about indiviudals with BMI below 30...

    August 10, 2010 at 19:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Amy

    Progestin is a synthetic form of progesterone. Most estrogen found in HRT is horse estrogen. Hmm.....why don't the studies and researchers and media point out the types of hormones actually being studied here? Synthetic/horse derived vs. natural bio-identical hormone replacement that your body has been producing for years. Because big pharma has it's claws in everyone and the general public is mislead to believe that all hormones are bad. If they were, our bodies would not produce them.

    August 10, 2010 at 19:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. beverly

    I have no choice but to take hormone therapy. My problems are not hot flashes or dryness, those I could deal with. I become psychotic: paranoid, depressed, suicidal, major mood swings. Without the hormones I would be institutionalized or drugged out on psychotropics to the point that I could not function. For me the benefits of hormone therapy far outweigh the side effects. I realize that I am in the minority, but I do exist.

    August 10, 2010 at 19:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Thurston Murray

    I agree with the lady from California, the study had nothing to do with Male Breast Cancer. My cancer was Estrogen Positive and maybe what may have frustrated me is that men produce Estrogen as well as women, so why hasn't the issue of hormone study been equally applied to me--maybe they are afraid that they might find a cure, and it may cost them billions of dollars–it makes me wonder, after President Nixon decleared a 10 year war on cancer a long time ago!! Thurston

    August 10, 2010 at 22:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Jill

    So why isn't anyone talking about the elephant in the room? You know, our meat and dairy foods that are laced with hormones to boost size and quantity of the animals. Just once, I'd like to see a doctor or cancer organization speak out on the need to err on the side of caution and avoid non-organic foods containing hormones.

    August 10, 2010 at 22:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kim

      Amen (to what Jill said about the hormones in dairy). I try to buy organic milk, whenever possible. To me, it just makes good sense.

      August 11, 2010 at 14:04 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      There are many cancer organizations that are advocating for the removal of growth hormones and antibiotics from dairy and meat products – Breast Cancer Action in California is one such organization, and there are others. Most health advocates believe that it's usually not only one exposure to environmental toxins or harmful chemicals that will cause cancer, but exposure to many chemicals, especially during "vulnerable" times of our development, such as in vitro (Pre-natal) periods, and during early childhood and puberty when hormone activity can be interfered with by environmental toxins. So it's probably our continual and accumulated exposure to many such estrogenic and endocrine disrupting chemicals, as well as increased exposure to light that lowers melatonin levels, as someone above pointed out. There are several large NIH and NIEHS studies underway right now on cancer and light pollution. Most everyone knows about the connection of smoking to lung cancer, but studies have shown that smoking is also connected to other forms of cancer including breast cancer, and even second-hand smoke changes our genetic function and can lead to cancer. So it's probably not just one thing that contributes to cancer formation, but our exposure to myriad forms of pollution and environmental hormones on a daily basis that interfere with our continual cell repair and cell proliferation, our DNA and genetic function, and the normal activities of our hormones.

      August 22, 2010 at 15:13 | Report abuse |
  20. Ak2190

    While it is true that hormone replacement therapy is linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, early menarche (first period), having no children, as well as having late menopause are all arguably higher risks.

    August 11, 2010 at 00:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. MichelleW

    I had to have an emergency hysterectomy at age 29! Of course, I was completely devastated. My doc immediately put me on HRT to help me deal with the mood swings, etc. After 1 yr, I gained so much weight I hardly recognized myself. I tried dieting, etc. but everything failed. I have slight asthma so the extra weight was making exercise even more difficult. I have always had acne prone skin & was just having serious issues with that also. I tried switching..no change just everytime I did I would be sick to my stomach for awhile or have extreme headaches.

    Then I found a lump in my breast and was scared. It turned out ok but had to have 6 month checkups for awhile.
    I immediately went off the HRT not knowing what to expect. My hysterectomy was cancer related and I just knew I didn't want to deal with that again.

    I am a 30 yr old happily married woman and was scared at first because all the horror stories of menopause & going through it abruptly can make it worse. But almost immediately after stopping HRT..I noticed my headaches gone, and I started losing weight...without hardly trying even. I started having more energy which gave me the boost I needed to actually start trying to lose more weight.

    A year later, I have dropped over 50 lbs (6 sizes smaller) and I feel great!!!! To be honest, I do try to eat healthy but I am not really trying to lose weight but I have somehow managed to maintain the weight loss. I trully believe it was the HRT that made me blow up like a balloon and giving me all the same side effects that Birth control pills did for me years ago. I always struggled with my weight but I remember as soon as I would go off the pill for various reasons, I would lose the weight. I didn't put it together until this.

    Over a year with no HRT....I have had a few very minor mood swings, hot flashes but I stress minor. My sexual desire has not decreased..if anything it has actually increased ;) The overall factor is I feel 110% better than I did while on HRT or even Birth Control pills.

    Esp. considering the risks, I would never again take HRT even if I was having menopause serious symptoms. I realize every woman is different but if you were like me at first...simply taking them because you feared what menopause would bring...then I ask you to consider the risks. Don't fear menopause..try it then if you really really really have to..go back on HRT but you may be surprised like I was. To be honest, I haven't felt this good in a very very long time.

    August 11, 2010 at 01:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Dan

    birth control pills are the most over looked once. These are real problems.

    August 11, 2010 at 01:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MichelleW

      I agree with it. More studies needs to be done on birth control pills but the problem is they won't. It's population control. The government is afraid if they release info on the harm of BC pills that women will stop taking them....and teen or young women pregnancies will rise and unfortunately so will the number of abortions. Let's face it married couples don't want to mess with condoms (I don't blame them..I didn't want to) but yet they want to wait to have kids so unfortunately BC is the option.

      I went on BC at 18 only going off it only a few times for various reasons but always going right back on it. I had 2 scares with women type cancers (even before the hysterectomy). Then I ended up with a supposedly "rare" form of uterine cancer (of which I had none of the supposedly listed risk factors). I have absolutely no family history of any women type cancers. It could have been a bad luck case but I trully believe my extended usage of BC def. played a factor in it all. We have to remember we are taking fake chemicals and forcing our systems to work with it. Like I said before, being off of all hormones (BC and HRT), I have never felt better in my entire life.
      I have a son only but if I had a daughter I would stress to her yes Protection and BC is important but since BC doesn't offer you STD protection..stick with the condoms for as long as you can. Then when you are in a committed long term relationship, then think about BC pills. Did I like the fact I could control my cycles more? Yes, certainly esp. for some women who may be irregular but looking back...I really wish I would have waited..not gone the BC route so young...stuck with the condoms...things could have been different.

      August 11, 2010 at 01:31 | Report abuse |
  23. Bad Patient

    Can we say F*** Y@U to the medical profession in CNN blogs?

    Regarding this:

    And for women who used an estrogen and progestin combination or EPT for more than 15 years, their risk of developing breast cancer jumped to 83 percent.

    August 11, 2010 at 01:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bad Patient

      One more time: FU !!!

      And again, FU.

      August 11, 2010 at 01:44 | Report abuse |
    • Bad Patient

      Thank you CNN. That was therapeutic for me. ;-)

      August 11, 2010 at 01:45 | Report abuse |
  24. Dawn

    Thanks Jill. I've been waiting to hear someone mention about all the hormones in our food chain. After watching the documentary " Food Inc." I will only buy meat that is labled "Hormone Free and Antibiotic Free". Several years ago the doctors were being blamed for over prescribing antibiotics when the food chain was to blame for that too. The meat industry is very powerful and wealthy and helps fund our politicians who in turn protect the meat industry. The animals in our food chain are fed Hormones and Antibiotics every day with their feed so they grow bigger in a shorter amount of time. More money in their pockets and they don't care about the health effects of the people. No wonder we have so many cancers and other health problems.

    August 11, 2010 at 02:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Survivor

    Multiple doctors gave my sister and I reassuring garbage about there only being a slight increased risk of breast cancer while taking the pill, saying that the risk disappears once off the pill. With absolutely no history of breast cancer in my family, my sister is advanced stage 4 with her second battle with this horrible disease, and it's been two years since my battle started. Anyone that acts like an authority and says that there is only a slight risk is no authority. Think it through – how logical is it that the results of the study listed in this article show that there is a strong link between HRT and breast cancer, and then say that there's only a slight risk of breast cancer from taking the pill?

    August 11, 2010 at 03:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Becca

      While going through Chemo and radiation for cancer all of the woman and husbands began to think the common thread was HRT-years later this study comes out. Many were not predisposed to the cancer. I feel like the medical field is not up to snuff with their knowledge of many things or maybe too much money is made from the drug companies and kickbacks.

      August 11, 2010 at 09:05 | Report abuse |
    • Donna

      Sorry to hear about your troubles, but in order for any conclusions to be made large numbers of people have to be studied and statistics have to be done. In my family I have two relatives that did not take bc pills and both got breast cancer at an early age. I took them and am fine. So there are lots of different stories out there.

      August 11, 2010 at 11:46 | Report abuse |
  26. Survivor

    Maybe someday there will be a requirement that women get tested for the breast cancer genes before they are given the pill. The test is out there, but it might not be in the best interests of the pharmaceutical industry.

    August 11, 2010 at 03:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Does Not Matter

    WTF!!!???!, WTF !?!?!? The scientist and pharma criminals are really and truly full of horse crap. Just think they want us to injest the information and run out for more frickin pills!!! Well, I am truly convinced that I should and will embrace this life change, sweat glistening and "cussing folks out mood swings" and all!!! I will continue to enjoy life, drinking and great great sex!!!! My libido is off the charts:) and when the anxiety sets off, I will take my trusty friend, XANAX and let my Man know that I love him and need his most basic service!!!!!! LOL!

    August 11, 2010 at 10:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Khalid Mahmud

    I am an oncologist and would like to clarify certain things:
    1. The "hormones" women have been given in this country for 50 years are not really hormones. These are drugs, chemically different from the hormones Mother Nature put in our bodies and were created in order to receive patents and big profits. Natural bio-identical hormones [chemically identical to what's in the body] were available, but bypassed as those could not be patented. As a result of taking artificial estrogen + progestins, hundreds of thousands of women have suffered or died [cardiovascular problems, blood clots, strokes, cancer, etc]
    2. Sex hormones given by mouth lead to problems because of what we call the "first pass liver" effects and result in complications.
    Women should approach physicians who can prescribe natural bio-identical hormones in natural manner and then monitor the patients and their blood levels. This can not only reduce chance of breast cancer, but also promote brain, bone and heart health.

    August 11, 2010 at 11:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Albert Klyne

      All readers should pay attention to Khalid Mahmud. He is a very highly qualified Doctor, with very many years in practice. He is also a specialist in Oncology. I have read his book "Keeping aBreast, Ways of avoiding breast cancer". It is full of real scientific information – all quoted with full refenerces to the science. Read it – you will be able to avoid breast cancer!

      October 9, 2011 at 14:33 | Report abuse |
    • Albert Klyne

      When I read the article by Sanjay Gupta I was truly surprised. He did not do his homework. HRT given to many women is NOT the same as bio-identical hormones. Gupta's article will worry many people, it is not a good article. Everyone should read about bio-identical hormones, and not get damaged by artificial pharm products. I hope thatv Sanjay Gupts will take the time to read Dr Mahmud's book – "Keepinf aBreast" He will learn a lot.

      October 9, 2011 at 14:38 | Report abuse |
  29. Rose

    I am a 63 year old woman in good health.
    I have used birth control pills in my younger years, went on HRT when the menopause symptoms were bad, and now, I am
    taking an osteoporosis drug. My understanding is and has always been that while they are helpful, these drugs must NOT
    be used for extended periods of time. How/why would someone be on HRT for 15 years ?!?!?!?! That's crazy; three/fours
    years at most. Let's get serious, all drugs have the potential for harm so we use them to alleviate acute symptoms, then,
    wean ourselves off.

    August 11, 2010 at 13:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Jack

    Why does this article not come out and say, "Estrogen and progestin therapy = birthcontol pills and taking them can lead to cancer!"

    August 11, 2010 at 17:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. smc341

    CNN I am sorry to say that your article sux. Why didn't you have a more comprehensive article.

    August 12, 2010 at 01:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. JWR

    There is a lot of inaccurate information in the forum about BHRT (bioidentical HRT). There are no good, longterm studies showing these hormones provide the benefits that "synthetic" ones fail to. In fact, there is no such thing as a "natural" hormone product. Estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone do not exist in any plant source; rather, they are derived/synthesied from PRECURSORS in plant sources. And, technically speaking, Premarin is not "synthetic"; it is merely an extract from a nasty source (horse urine). The only true natural source of hormones is your own body. The closest you would ever get to ingesting hormones or hormone precursors NATURALLY would be to eat the stupid yam or drink the horse pee.

    Back to the BHRT-is better-argument – it is a woman's OWN ESTROGEN that is the biggest risk factor for breast cancer, and you can't get any more bioidentical than that! Early menarche, late menopause, and high endogenous estrogen are the major risk factors for the disease (aside from genes and radiation exposure). Bioidentical HRT has already failed in clinical trials testing it for secondary heart disease prevention, and estradiol has been shown to triple the risk of fatal stroke in women who have already had one.

    Any claims that this form of HRT is beneficial need to be backed up by evidence from clinical trials, and right now such evidence is either lacking or is indicating harm. The 40 years of Premain hype turned out to be one set of broken promises; BHRT could turn out to be the next!!

    August 26, 2010 at 17:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. jan

    Reading this stuff is the scariest thing in the world - especially when you see risk factors by the dozens and a person reading this could have them all!! I'm 55 and still menstruating, I've never given birth, my mother died of ovarian cancer at 76. I have dense breasts, I am beginning to gain weight in my middle and it goes on and on and I'm pretty scared. Oh well. Good night all.

    December 8, 2010 at 04:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Albert Klyne

    Please read the comments from Dr Khalid Mahmud – he gave the correct information, totally scientifically based, with all refenences given for the very vauable information in his book – Keeping aBreast". Women need to know the facts. I do not know Dr Mahmud, I am a health researcher and I find that he gives the information in a very simple way, so that everyone can understand it. You need to know!

    October 9, 2011 at 14:45 | Report abuse | Reply

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