Short-term use of hormones may increase the risk of breast cancer for decades, study says

At the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium on Friday, researchers highlighted the risks associated with the use of certain hormone drugs: a greater risk of breast cancer. The study dates back to 2002, when a study showed that taking a combination of hormone pills with both estrogen and progesterone functions could have tragic consequences.

Short-term use of hormones may increase the risk of breast cancer for decades, study says

Certain exogenous hormones (in the form of drugs, patches, creams or injections, rather than hormones produced by the body itself) are thought to be associated with an increased risk of heart disease and cancer, although many more are known to be problematic. Numerous studies over the past few decades have found that taking estrogen and progesterone may increase the risk of breast cancer.

The study prompted many doctors to recommend not taking exogenous hormones to relieve menopausal symptoms or restore due to hormone levels. Still, many people are unaware of the study and may seek hormone therapy to put themselves at risk of getting more serious illnesses.

Long-term risks

A major federal study conducted in 2002 (recently discussed at the above-mentioned symposium) highlights another concern: the increased risk of breast cancer may persist for decades. The study involved about 16,000 elderly women who took placebo or a combination of hormones containing estrogen and progesterone.

The study ended in 2002 when women taking hormones suffered from breast cancer and heart disease. The women stopped taking the pills, but the researchers monitored their health for more than a decade.

Based on the number of breast cancer cases in that year’s study participants, the researchers found that women who took hormone drugs were 29 percent more likely to develop cancer. On the other hand, the study found that women who took estrogen alone were 23 percent less likely to develop breast cancer over the same period of time.

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