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Title Does hormone replacement therapy cause breast cancer? An application of causal principles to three studies.
Date 17 January 2012
Full Story Publication of the Million Women study in 2003 raised concerns about risks of HRT, in particular increased risk of breast cancer. This concerning news followed closely in the wake of the WHI trial, first published in 2002, which also emphasised risks of HRT. Not surprisingly, there followed a sudden loss of confidence in the use of HRT and a decline in prescriptions. Subsequently, attempts have been made to make sense of the study results. The most recent report from the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Healthcare, available now online, has examined in detail the data used in the Million Women study (MWS) and concludes that the evidence in the MWS was unreliable and that HRT may or may not increase the risk of breast cancer, but the MWS did not establish that it does.

With reanalysis of the WHI trial also now showing that, when used appropriately, and especially in women under the age of 60 HRT is safe, surely the time has come for women and healthcare professionals to worry less about risks of HRT and return to considering the benefits and see HRT as a very useful option for women experiencing menopausal symptoms, or suffering from osteoporosis or premature ovarian failure.

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