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Title Women return to HRT despite scare
Date 10 May 2004
Full Story Thousands of women are returning to hormone replacement therapy because they find the symptoms of the menopause too difficult to live with.
After the Million Women Study found last year that HRT doubled the risk of breast cancer, many women stopped taking the menopause treatment.
Earlier studies from America also found evidence of a link between breast cancer and long-term HRT. However, more recently the American researchers found that one form of HRT, which contains only oestrogen, may reduce the risk.


Now a survey of 400 British women aged 45 to 64 who had taken or stopped taking HRT in the past 18 months found they were asking their doctors to be put back on the therapy.

It found that nine out of 10 who stopped saw a return of hot flushes, night sweats and lack of sleep.

More than one in five of these women has resumed HRT and nine out of 10 of them said they did so to relieve the symptoms.
About 1.7 million British women were taking HRT and it was estimated that up to half stopped because of the cancer fears.


The survey by NOP for the pharmaceutical company, Wyeth, suggests that a smaller number, about a quarter, stopped.
It found that three quarters of the women said they had not considered stopping HRT with eight out of 10 of these saying the benefits outweighed the risks.


Dr Sally Hope, a GP from Woodstock, Oxon, and a member of the British Menopause Society, said most of her female patients, who include a high proportion of academics, stopped HRT.


"About 80 per cent stopped after the Million Women Study, but 40 per cent started again," she said.

"They have been trickling back. I have had women in, sobbing their hearts out, feeling really terrible. We advise them of the risk and then let them make their own choice."


Karen Winterhalter, the executive director of Women's Health Concern said half the calls to her helpline were from women who wanted to be put back on HRT.

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