Lancet study shows HRT increases risk of ovarian cancer


Some of you may be aware of this news story recently publicized. Those of you on HRT would be concerned, so I need to put it in perspective. The hormones used in the trial were the synthetic forms, using progestins, which are very different and proven to be more harmful than natural (micronised) progesterone. The form these women were given the HRT was mainly orally, which carries much higher risks than transdermal (Creams, patches and Troches). Finally, I have treated nearly 4000 women over 15 years with the Bioidentical HRT, and do not know of 1 case of ovarian cancer in that time in one of these patients. However, all women must be aware of the symptoms of ovarian cancer, so it can be diagnosed and treated early. I will publish the signs of ovarian cancer on this blog soon.

Lancet study shows HRT increases risk of ovarian cancer

Women who take hormone replacement therapy to ease the symptoms of menopause have a significantly increased risk of ovarian cancer, a study of more than 21,000 women has found.

The research published in The Lancet shows that among women aged from about 50 who take HRT for five years, there will be one extra ovarian cancer for every 1000 users and one extra ovarian cancer death for every 1700 users.

While doctors have long suspected HRT may cause some ovarian cancers, this is the largest ever study to assess the link and quantify the risk. It mainly included studies of women from Australia, North America and Europe.

The researchers from the International Collaborative Group on Epidemiological Studies of Ovarian Cancer said the increased risk related to the two most common forms of ovarian cancer (serous and endometrioid) and applied to women taking the two main types of HRT (preparations containing oestrogen only or oestrogen together with progestogen).

Furthermore, they said the increased risk was not altered by the age at which HRT began, body size, past use of oral contraceptives (which are known to protect against ovarian cancer), hysterectomy, alcohol use, tobacco use, or family history of breast and ovarian cancer.

Australian experts welcomed the study as more useful information about the risks of HRT, but said women should not panic about it because ovarian cancer remains rare, with about 1500 diagnoses each year.

Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Melbourne and Royal Women’s Hospital Martha Hickey described the research as the best information to date on the link between HRT and ovarian cancer. She said although the risk was small, it was worth considering because ovarian cancer can be fatal.

“The chances of it happening are small, but on the other hand ovarian cancer has a very poor prognosis … so it’s important for that reason,” she said.

Professor Susan Davis, a leading endocrinologist at Monash University, described the risk of ovarian cancer as a “small blip” that should be weighed against the benefits of taking HRT, which remains the best available treatment for troubling menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes and sweats. Furthermore, she said HRT was associated with a lower risk of colon cancer, heart disease and improved bone density which protects against osteoporosis and fractures.

The Lancet‘s study on ovarian cancer follows great controversy about the risks of HRT over the past 13 years. In 2002, the Women’s Health Initiative study said the treatment dramatically increased the risk of heart disease, strokes, breast cancer and blood clots.

But a reappraisal of the study published in 2012 said the findings were irrelevant for women in their 50s and that the benefits of taking HRT significantly outweighed the risks for many women experiencing menopausal problems.

About 2 million Australian women are going through or approaching menopause, when menstruation ends and the body’s production of the sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone drops off. About 80 per cent experience moderate or severe symptoms.

Professor Davis said about 10 per cent of women aged 40 to 65 are using some form of HRT in Australia.

About Dr Colin Holloway

Gp interested in natural hormone treatment for men and women of all ages

Posted on February 18, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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