A ribbon of balloons commemorates breast cancer awareness month—that would be October—in this photo taken in New Hampshire in 2008.
A newly released medical study might cause women to reconsider going the hormonal replacement route in light of the potential risks: The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, suggests that women who take estrogen and progesterone put themselves at higher risk of dying from breast cancer. —KA
And it contradicts prior studies that suggest women taking the drugs had less aggressive, easier-to-treat breast cancers.
“As opposed to the prevailing thought of two years ago, that cancers associated with estrogen plus progesterone would be favorable and not much of a problem, we are actually showing they are associated with an increased risk of death from breast cancer,” Dr. Rowan Chlebowski of the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, who led the study, said in a telephone interview.
The findings include 11 years of follow-up from the Women’s Health Initiative study, which in 2002 found women who took estrogen plus progesterone for five years had higher rates of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, strokes and other health problems.