A recent study has been conducted and released results which have shown that women who are on oestrogen hormone replacement therapy are less likely to develop breast cancer.
The study has shown that those who were on the therapy treatments for over six years have a nearly 25 percent reduced chance of developing the disease. The effectiveness of the treatment seems to continue to reduce the chance of breast cancer risk for five years after it is ceased.
The women involved in the study were mostly those who had had a hysterectomy and the findings show that these women are the most likely to benefit from the treatment. It is not normally something that is prescribed for most women because it increases the chance of uterine cancer developing.
The research is being conducted at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre which is located in Seattle. The lead researcher on the study is Garnet Anderson who has commented, “There was some degree of concern about the safety of taking hormone replacement therapy and this research should put people at ease about taking the treatment. Instead of actually increasing the risk of cancer, the treatment actually serves to reduce it.”
The researchers have said that while this treatment does reduce the risk of breast cancer, it is not something they would recommend for most women. This is for many reasons, and partly because it was not found to be effective in reducing the chance of women developing breast cancer if they have a family history of the disease.
As well as the potential development of uterine cancer, the disease also comes with increased risks of the body developing blood clots and having a stroke. In 1990s a study was conducted which involved over 100,000 women.
It was conducted by the Women’s Health Initiative and it showed that women who were receiving hormone replacement therapy in combination with progestin were likely to have an increased chance of breast cancer. In fact, the study had to be ceased early because the increased risk was significant, at 25 percent.
Another study went on to look at a smaller number of women who were having the treatment after a hysterectomy. This trial also had to be stopped early and was ceased in 2004 because it was found that the risk of blood clots developing and potential stroke was significant.
This new study found that around 8000 women from the study who received estrogen only treatment were likely to have a reduced risk of breast cancer when compared with the women in the trial who were taking the placebo.
The study was conducted for 11 years and 150 women who were on the drug developed breast cancer, while among those women who were not on the drug, 200 developed the disease. Six women died from the disease while on the drug, compared with 16 who were taking the placebo.
Dr John Buster from Brown University was not involved with the study and he has commented, “There was an argument that this type of treatment might be increasing the chance of breast cancer, but this study clearly puts that argument to rest, there is no increased risk and this should be very reassuring to women on the treatment.” The study was funded by an institute that is part of Pfizer Pharmaceuticals.