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Hormone Therapy Linked To Ovarian Cancer Risk In New Study

hormone replacement therapy

A new study has found that women who use hormone replacement therapy after menopause, even for a few years, face an increased risk for ovarian cancer.

Women who used hormone replacement therapy for less than five years after menopause had a 40% higher risk of ovarian cancer, the researchers found, Web MD reported.

[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Sir Richard Peto” author_title=”Study researcher”]

We have evidence, proof, that there is a small but real excess risk of cancer of the ovaries with hormone therapy use.


According to Sir Richard Peto, a study researcher, the increased risk was statistically significant, although small. The findings mean that women taking hormone therapy for 5 years from around the age of 50 will see an extra ovarian cancer diagnosis for every 1,000 HRT users, and an additional death from ovarian cancer for every 1,700 HRT users.

The increased risk of breast cancer while using hormone therapy has been well documented, but the treatment has been found to reduce the risk for bowel cancer and osteoporosis. The impact of HRT on ovarian cancer has been debated for years, particularly for women who use the treatment for less than five years.

The researchers behind the new study looked at data from 52 different studies that included 21,500 women with ovarian cancer, proving there is a link, the BBC reported.

Researchers found an increased risk of ovarian cancer among current users along with those who used the treatment within the last five years. Women who used HRT for at least five years still had a higher risk after a decade, according to Fox News.

More than 21,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the United States every year. About 14,000 women die of the disease. Ovarian cancer is often hard to diagnose with symptoms that resemble irritable bowel syndrome, including persistent abdominal pain, feeling feel quickly and persistent bloating.

Hormone replacement therapy for menopause is designed to replace hormones that dramatically drop in the body after menopause. It was once prescribed as a standard treatment for menopause symptoms.

The use of hormone replacement therapy to treat menopause symptoms increased in the 1990s, although a massive study was halted in 2002 after researchers discovered HRT results in an increased risk of blood clots, stroke and heart attack. The use of HRT plummeted, but millions of women in the United States continue to use hormone replacement therapy.

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