While I feel it is important to keep women abreast (no pun intended) to the latest articles and talk on HRT – do not panic if you are taking hormone therapy. It is important to understand the actual risks vs. benefits. I spoke to a menopause specialist to try to shed some light on this information. Here is his opinion: With regard to estrogen alone, it’s possible that unopposed estrogen for more than ten years might minimally increase risk ; a 22% increase in a rare event (breast cancer baseline rate = 1.2 cases per year per 1000 women, so this study apparently states it would increase to 1.4 cases per 1000 women per year) is nothing to write home about, compared to a 50% decrease in Alzheimer’s: among that same thousand women, you will have prevented 27 cases of Alzheimer’s disease per year in return for that extra 0.2 case of breast cancer per year; also you get a 40% decrease in overall mortality, and dramatic decrease in hip and spine fractures and heart disease. So from a public health standpoint, its a no-brainer: use estrogen.
In addition, they are referring to unopposed estrogen. This specialist is not convinced that estrogen together with bioidentical progesterone and testosterone yields any increase in cancer incidence, and there is good reason to believe incidence decreases instead.
“While the relative risk of developing breast cancer in increased, the absolute risk associated with [HT] are low,” Dr. Wendy Chen said.