Personal Health

As strong hormone therapies increase the risk of breast cancer

Hot flushes, outbreaks of sweat, sleep disturbances, intermenstrual bleeding, incontinence: the female body during the menopause and its hormonal balance, it can lead to complaints. Hormone therapy helps but it also increases the risk of developing breast cancer. This can even be years after the Discontinuation of medication yet the case, as a recent study shows.

For the study in the journal “The Lancet” had summarized an international team of researchers, the results of 58 studies on the subject. Accordingly, the risk of breast cancer increases almost any Form of hormone therapy for the long term. A German expert advises not to panic, but to speak with your doctor about the pros and cons of the treatment.

The menopause start for most women around 45 years of age. Years of age. When the ovaries discontinue their function, the levels of Estrogen in the body, the progesterone disappears almost entirely. In Europe and North America, about 12 million women in the hormone preparations take, in order to mitigate the problems caused by the conversion, write the researchers.

Data from nearly 500,000 women

The Team had analyzed data from almost 500,000 women in whom the Menopause had used. Some of the women had carried out over different periods of time, hormone therapy other not taken any hormones. More than 100,000 of these women sufferers of breast cancer, most around the age of 65. Years of age. The analysis showed that almost any Form of hormone treatment increased the risk of breast cancer, however, in varying degrees:

  • Without hormone therapy developed in 63 of 1000 women with a normal weight in the period between 50 and 69 years, cancer of the breast.
  • In the case of a five-year treatment with Estrogen and a daily progestogen dose resulted in an additional breast cancer case per 50 women.
  • The progestin is not every day , but only in a phased manner, the risk is slightly smaller: an additional case per 70 women.
  • It was only Estrogen taken, there were 200 women in an additional case of breast cancer.

The duration of treatment exceeded the five-year period increased the risk of disease in addition. “A treatment duration of ten years with hormones, the increased risk of breast cancer doubled compared to a five-year treatment,” says co-author Gillian Reeves of the University of Oxford in a press release.

“But it seems to be very little high-risk, hormone therapy less than a year,” says Reeves. “The same is true for the local vaginal estrogen application in the Form of ointments or suppositories, which should not reach into the bloodstream.”

Obese Women: Less Influence

The results were independent of personal factors, which influence the risk of breast cancer also, such as, for example, a family predisposition, or alcohol or cigarette consumption. In obese women, who already have a higher risk of breast cancer, increased the risk by hormone therapy less. Also a very late start of hormone therapy, from the age of 60 years, weakened the risk of disease.

In a commentary on the study, also published in “The Lancet” explains Joanne Kotsopoulos from the Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, such as the increased risk could come about: “In studies, we see that the increase in the risk of breast cancer associated with age, after Menopause a little milder. Simply put, could the hormone therapy, the women are de-facto in a pre-menopausal stage.” So they did not benefit from the reduced risk of breast cancer after Menopause.”

Patients should be informed about the new findings, says Olaf Ortmann from the University hospital in Regensburg, Germany. “We have not yet so much about the known long-term consequences. So far, it is assumed that the risk of breast cancer goes back a few years after the end of the hormone treatment, returned to a more normal level.”

The treatment should be, therefore, not a self-runner, as Ortmann is responsible for the guideline for hormone therapy in menopause by the German society for gynecology and obstetrics. “Patients should not panic but talk to your doctor. You should always check after a couple of years, whether the medication is reduced or human can be. Sometimes the complaints have led to the hormone therapy, are mitigated, already.”