HRT for Chronic Conditions Increases Risk of Breast Cancer, Blood Clots

Side effects of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) when used to prevent chronic conditions, such as osteoporosis, appears to increase the risk of a woman suffering breast cancer, stroke, blood clots and other potentially life-threatening health problems, according to new research.

On May 28, the Annals of Internal Medicine published the findings of a study designed to provide women with updated evidence about the effectiveness of hormone therapy in preventing chronic conditions, as opposed to the more common use of alleviating the symptoms of menopause.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) involves the use of hormones and progestins to artificially boost hormone levels in women. It is typically used on women undergoing menopause due to surgery or in postmenopausal women to provide relief from symptoms such as hot flashes, irregular menstruation or weight gain. However, it is also commonly used to prevent chronic conditions common in older women, such as osteoporosis.

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Researchers looked at a number of clinical trials, including the Women’s Health Initiative, and found that the use of HRTs that combined estrogen and progestin did reduce the risk of bone fractures, but also increased the risk of breast cancer, stroke, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, lung cancer death, gallbladder disease, dementia and urinary incontinence. Estrogen-only therapy also reduced bone fractures and breast cancer, but increased the risk of stroke, deep vein thrombosis, gallbladder disease and urinary incontinence.

In 2002, the National Institutes of Health released the results of studies that found women receiving HRT were at higher risk of breast cancer, strokes and heart attacks. The studies, part of the Women’s Health Initiative, sparked a number of hormone replacement therapy lawsuits filed by women who developed breast cancer throughout the United States.

The new findings come after a study funded by the National Cancer Institute, and presented in April, also found an increased risk of breast cancer linked to the long-term use of any estrogen hormones.

Both of the studies contradict the findings of another study published in January, which was funded by the drug maker Wyeth. That research cast doubts on the links between hormone therapy and cancer.

In recent years, Wyeth, which is a subsidiary of Pfizer, has been hit with several multi-million dollar punitive damage awards after juries found that the drug maker withheld information about the risk of breast cancer from their hormone replacement therapy medications.

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3 Comments

  • BarbaraNovember 1, 2022 at 9:14 am

    Took prepro for 5 years. Developed breast cancer several years later.

  • JoyceSeptember 18, 2015 at 9:03 pm

    Prempro was first given to me in 1980 by Mr gynecologist (2,5) dose. Then in 1990s the dose was reduced to 1.5. My breast had to be aspirated many times because cysts formed. Then in 2013, I felt a mass while taking a shower. I just thought my breat needed to br aspirated again. Although this felt different. So I saw my gynologist. I had scans, mammograms, CT scans, and then two biopsy. I was sen[Show More]Prempro was first given to me in 1980 by Mr gynecologist (2,5) dose. Then in 1990s the dose was reduced to 1.5. My breast had to be aspirated many times because cysts formed. Then in 2013, I felt a mass while taking a shower. I just thought my breat needed to br aspirated again. Although this felt different. So I saw my gynologist. I had scans, mammograms, CT scans, and then two biopsy. I was sent to the surgeon and he told me I had Stage 2 Breast Cancer. He said that day to stop taking prempro. I did. I met with the oncologist and had surgery to remove the mass and lymph node on my left side. The went thru 5 treatments of chemotherapy and months of radiation, plus the targeted radiation. The Lord healed my body for which I am eternally grateful. My oncologist explained that this growth was like planting seed on the ground. It was watered, but nothing happened. Then fertilizer was added ( prempro ) which caused the seeds to grow....just as grass would grow.

  • emmaNovember 5, 2012 at 12:12 am

    I took hrt for about 20 something years. I was diagnoised with breast cancer in 2002 resulting mastectomy. I was never notified of any risks or claims or compensations. I learned of these facts a couple of months via TV ad. Now I find I may be to late to file a case. I don't think this is right for the company to be able to just cut it off. Especially when there are other women out there in the[Show More]I took hrt for about 20 something years. I was diagnoised with breast cancer in 2002 resulting mastectomy. I was never notified of any risks or claims or compensations. I learned of these facts a couple of months via TV ad. Now I find I may be to late to file a case. I don't think this is right for the company to be able to just cut it off. Especially when there are other women out there in the same sitution. PLEASE HELP

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