Longer Use of Hormone Replacement Therapy Linked to Greater Breast Cancer Risk in Study

Longer Use of Hormone Replacement Therapy Linked to Greater Breast Cancer Risk in Study
The longer women use hormone therapy after menopause the higher is their breast cancer risk over time, and this risk persists for more than a decade after stopping this replacement therapy, a new meta-analysis suggests. "Type and timing of menopausal hormone therapy and breast cancer risk: individual participant meta-analysis of the worldwide epidemiological evidence" was published in The Lancet. Menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) involves taking hormones — usually estrogen, sometimes also progesterone — that the body makes less of after menopause. This can help alleviate some of the unpleasant effects of menopause, but studies have suggested it can increase the risk of some types of cancer, most notably breast cancer. In this meta-analysis, researchers in the U.K. looked at 58 different scientific studies, published between 1992 and 2018, to analyze this risk based on the most available data. They used patient data covering 128,435 women who developed breast cancer after menopause (the cases) and 366,965 who did not (the controls). About half of women in the cases group had used MHT. Importantly, most of the data included are from prospective studies, where participants were actively followed over time (as opposed to retrospective studies, where researchers review hospital records to look for trends). Prospective studies are generally better indicators of cause-and-effect relationships, because i
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