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Title Hormone therapy and breast cancer in young women
Date 16 February 2016
Full Story The association between a small increased risk of diagnosis of breast cancer and use of HRT continues to cause great concern, not least for women who experience an early menopause; with recognition that the association is duration dependant and is due to the possibility of HRT promoting the growth of breast cancer cells rather than causing malignancy, young women may be concerned that if they take HRT at least up to the average age of the menopause, they may be increasing breast cancer risk further. With this in mind, many young women stop HRT early or may be advised to do so, which may then lead to later health problems due to untreated early menopause.

A case-control study has provided some reassurance for young women continuing HRT, sometimes for many years. The authors have concluded that neither estrogen only nor estrogen combined with progestogen increase the risk of young-onset breast cancer and in fact estrogen treatment may be associated with a reduced risk.

HRT is recommended in women who have premature ovarian insufficiency and are advised to take it at least until the average age of the menopause for both symptom control and for bone and cardiovascular protection. This study adds to the evidence that use of HRT in this situation can be associated with a decrease or no increase in the risk of breast cancer.

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