The latest in a series of health scares associated with Hormone Replacement Therapy
Women on hormone replacement therapy have a 20 per cent higher risk of dying from ovarian cancer, says a new report.
The research, from the authoritative Million Women study, suggests that as many as 1,000 women may have died from ovarian cancer between 1991 and 2005, partly because they were using HRT.
But health experts say that current advice will not change and that women using HRT should do so for the shortest possible time.
In recent years, though, health scares about hormone replacement therapy put many women off taking it.
Now new research suggests that in some cases using HRT can be fatal.
There has been a series of health scares associated with HRT -
- In 2002 an American study found it increased the risk of heart attacks, strokes and breast cancer.
- In 2003 British research concluded that using HRT over 10 years doubled the risk of breast cancer.
- In April 2007 a new American study revealed that there was NO increased risk of a heart attack in women in their 50s.
The study found that women on it have a 20 per cent higher risk of developing ovarian cancer, as well as an increased risk of dying.
And there’s a 63 per cent higher combined risk of breast, ovarian and endometrial cancers.
The study concludes that 1,000 extra British women died between 1991 and 2005.
“What concerns me is they’re extending the period of the research from five years to 14 years, and claiming that a thousand woman would die over that time. This is really replacing science with sensationalism.”
—John Stevenson, Women’s Health Concern
The alarming findings are already causing controversy among medical experts, some questioning the science behind them.
The confusion over whether HRT is safe has seen the number of women using it fall dramatically, from two million in 2001 to one million four years later.
The British Menopause Society and the Women’s Health Initiative are just two organisations who have in the past condemned contradictory statistics put out by American researchers.
If the latest research is correct, it means that in Britain one woman in every 2,500 taking HRT will develop ovarian cancer.
But with so many conflicting messages, many women will remain unsure as to whether they should continue or even begin treatment.
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