2008 News Updates - Women's News:Blog update HRT - kill or cure?

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HRT-cancer controversy


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HRT woman - breast risk?


February 2000
Lena:
Well, at last we're getting some useful information about the risks of HRT. It's always difficult making sense of the figures. I had a look at the 1997 Lancet study which put the overall increased risk at 2.3 per cent a year. They said at the time that would mean one breast cancer case for every 1,000 HRT users over four years. So eight per cent a year is three or four times. It seems to me that would mean an added risk of one in three hundred of getting breast cancer over four years of combined treatment.

That seems to me quite a high risk. But then we are told it may not be too bad because even if you get cancer as a result of taking HRT it is unlikely to kill you. What does anybody think? Is it worth chancing it? Having cancer treatment would be pretty unpleasant even if you survived - but then the risk is only one in three hundred or thereabouts. Personally I think Dr Willett from Harvard is on the right track. It's time to get fit and take another look at the nutrition. What do you think?


Aikya Param:
Diet and exercise definitely can help bone density and heart health. But what about hot flashes? I am working on another huge U.S. National Cancer Institute study, the STAR Trail, the Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene. To participate, women must give up their HRT. Most of the reasons women refuse to do that involve hot flashes or the impact giving up testosterone would have on their intimate relationship with partners. It's time for medical science to hear what patients think is important. Quality of life and relationship matters more to them than medically important things they cannot see.

I would love for diet and exercise to be the cure of first resort for everything. It always has been for me personally. I also think it's time to consider quality of life and relationships more prominently in seeking solutions and for decent studies of phyto-estrogens and "progesterone" from plant sources.


Janet:
This is scary. Does it make any difference if you have cancer in the family?
November 2000
Dr Mark Pickering:

While there has been mention in the Australian media about this in vogue and seemingly still disputed topic - it has been relatively un-sensational in its content and this is mirrored in patient's attitude in the surgery.

It has only been patients with a PH of breast pathology and/or a positive FH of breast cancer that seem to seriously dispute adopting HRT when needed.
Dr Mark Pickering, Tasmania


July 2001
Bob:

I am writing to you as suggested to gain an insight from perhaps other opinion from experienced people.

My wife has just died from breast cancer on 24 June 2001. She bravely fought the extremely painful condition for 2 years. I don't think the litany of treatment is important here other than to say Chemo, Mastectomy, Chemo, Radiotherapy, Secondary, More Chemo, failure, finality.

It is the start that is important. She had a long history of monthly headaches and in May 99 aged 47 otherwise completely healthy, went to see the GP who prescribed (tossed across the desk) HRT - Femoston two starter paks, 2mg Oestradiol (14 orange tabs) and 2mg Oestradiol/10mg Dydrgesterone (14 yellow tabs). Her immediate reaction was adverse with excessive swelling in breasts/lower abdomen. We discussed this together and decided to stop taking the pills at 12 days. A golfball sized lump immediately appeared in the left breast as they reduced in size. This lump was analysed as cancer grade 3 (hormone receptor negative). The rest is history other than to say there was some family history and she had been very vigilant with an all clear Mammo just 2 months prior. The surgeon was also her doctor who had routinely examined the Mammograms.

I personally think the GP was incompetent and did not understand the power of this drug much less warn the patient to not stop taking it once started. Infomation I have since received seems to indicate a sudden stop in the HRT level can trigger a cancer.


August 2001
Lynne:

After suffering Ovarian Cancer at aged 40 I have been on HRT ever since I am now aged nearly 51.

However my Mother died of breast cancer and I am now being advised to come off HRT. I have been extremely well over the last 10 years and am somewhat hesitant to come off HRT but of course do not wish to increase my risk of breast cancer.


January 2002
Sandy, South Africa:

I have been on Evorel 50 for 9 years. I went in for a hysterectomy at 31 and both ovaries were removed as well due to having tumours which turned out to be benign. Since then I have experienced glowing good health; emotional stability; and no side effects from taking the HRT. My mother died from what could have been Uterine or Ovarian cancer so it is a big relief that I no longer possess either. I have no intention of ever coming off HRT - I intend to feel 31 until I die.
June 2002
Wendy, Australia:

Hi Lena,
I have been successfully and happily on Premia continuous 5mg for some years but my Dr recently suggested putting me on a reduced dose 2.5mg Premia continuous. Having been on it now for around 3-4 months four days ago I had bad menstrual pains and started "staining". This has continued on and off over four days and continues as I write. I don't know whether this is normal or not. I have an appt to see my Dr in 4 days time (can't get in any sooner). I have been very happy with HRT, now I'm concerned.
July 10 2002
Eileen, England:

I use raloxifene hydrochloride 60 mg daily. Today the London Times contains an article headed Health risks mar hrt allure of prolonged youth. It quotes latest American research etc and says the risk of breast cancer increases after five years and the longer use is continued. Also HRT has not been shown to prevent heart disease and risk may be slightly higher, ditto more likely to develop blood clots,venous thromboembolism, endometrial cancer. Premique is the closest product to the USA Premro. Any comments please?
July 10 2002
Lena:

Please see our own reports on this latest research. A follow up is in preparation.
July 10 2002
Suzie, England:

I have been on Oestradiol 50mg implants, for approx 6 years and prior to that with patches for 3 years. I have no history of cancer in my family. but am now worried as to if I should have my next implant done, it is due to be implanted next week. I am 40 years old, and I am very fit and well, other than the usual effects of my implant wearing off.
July 18 2002
Sue, England:

Hi, I gave my eggs anonymously five years ago and it has mucked up my hormones, so I have been on HRT for two years now, though not going through menopause (39 years old) I have also had a scare of two lumps in my breast recently, though thankfully clear, but now don't know whether to come off HRT after this recent scare as it could be another 5-10 years before I actually go through menopause, what would you advise?
August 13 2002
Sarah, Wales:

Can anybody tell me if there is some sort of register in the UK for women who have contracted breast cancer whilst taking HRT? My mother had a breast cancer 4 years ago aged 55 and as there is no family history of cancer she wonders if HRT may have been the cause. I would be very grateful for any information you could give me as a year later exactly the same thing happened to her best friend.
August 13 2002
Lena:

If anybody has any information on this please send it to me, using the form, and we will forward it to Sarah. We are not printing email addresses here to protect users from spam.
October 3 2002
Margaret, Australia:

I had been taking Premia 5mg for some 14 years and felt fit and well with no side effects. When the media wrote the articles about HRT maybe causing breast cancer (which I already knew) heart attack, strokes and blood clotting I decided to go off the tablets straight away and since then I have been experiencing stiffness in my joints, especially in my fingers. When I asked the doctor he said it was probably osteoarthritis!! I have started taking 'Joint Care' (Glucosamine & Chondroitin) tablets for this but if they don't work I am seriously thinking of going back onto HRT maybe 2.5mg
November 10 2002
Pat, USA:

I am 53. After 10 years on HRT I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer almost two years ago. So far my tests are clear. Is there a study I can join?
December 19th 2002
Karen, England:

At the age of 31 I was given HRT to relieve other problems I had. Within two days of taking the tablets I knew they were having an adverse effect on my body, causing me sickness and other side effects which I could only describe as similar to pregnancy. I immediately stopped taking these tablets although I continued with the side effects for several weeks after. It was on the sixth week after taking HRT I found a large solid lump in my breast which turned out to be cancer. I have no history of breast cancer in my family and I am totally convinced it was the HRT that caused my cancer and after I have completed my treatment I intend to take the matter further to prevent others having to go through the same fate.
December 24th 2002
Ali, USA:

I had a hysterectomy in Feb 2001. The next day my gyno doctor visited me in the hospital and put a "patch" on me. It appears that I had severe endromesiosis and was told that HRT possibly can only cause uterine cancer, since I now had none I was fine. A month later I was given progesterin tablets to take in conjunction with the estrogen patch. I started to experience leg pain six months later where I could barely walk. When I questioned the pain at my normal check-up I was told the pain must be unrelated. But: I went to see my family internist who immediately started me off the HRT.: 1ST the tablets and slowly off the patch. One year later I have clustered microcalcifications on one breast that they feel should be biopsied for more evaluation. The same "spots" appeared in 2002 but nothing in 2001 and I was told not to be alarmed, but I am. I am seeing a surgeon 12/31st for a review of the tests and how to proceed. The spots are so minute that they can hardly be seen with a magnifying glass even when the extras were made larger. On top of my concern I was taking tofu (soy) up to 4 times a week for the last 1 1/2 yrs to fight any side effects of menopause and now have even stopped that. I was also taking 1000MG of calcium a day and have also stopped that although I was told not to. Even though I have no history of breast cancer and 53 my mum died of ovarian at 71 and I don't understand why the sudden concern for the cluster when it was there 2 yrs ago but not last year? What else could it be if not cancer starting?
December 27th 2002
dee dee, England:

I had a hysterectomy this year June 2002. i have been on evorel 50 since then. I feel great except for the weight gain! I have put on so much that I am considering coming off it. Does anyone else have this problem? I'm 38. I'm thinking of dosing up on vitamins & minerals instead of HRT.

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