Putting Breast Cancer Into Perspective

In our last blog, we mentioned the many benefits of estrogen. This week we will address one of the main concerns women have when considering menopausal hormone therapy (MHT); which is breast cancer. Dr. Robert Reid from Queen's University in Kingston spoke at the International Menopause Society Meeting in Vancouver in June. He helped put the risk of breast cancer into perspective.

This risk is thought to be insignificant in the first 5 years of hormone use. When compared to other lifestyle risks such as being overweight, stress, smoking, alcohol use, late menopause, not having children and not breast feeding, MHT has the lowest risk. The use of using MHT reduces hot flashes, lowers stress, and mproves sleep and mood thus reducing a greater risk for breast cancer. The most significant risk a woman has once reaching menopause is heart disease. More women die of heart disease then all types of cancer combined. When started within the first 10 years of menopause, hormone therapy has a heart protective effect.

Each woman needs to be assessed for individual risks when deciding of MHT is appropriate. A Danish registry of patients followed for over 10 years showed that women using hormone therapy had less causes of death than those who did not use MHT. Something to seriously consider...