The dangers of HRT & the importance of Moveable Feast

Last week I read in both the Washington Post and the Baltimore Sun about how hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for menopausal women drastically increased their chances of contracting deadly breast cancer.

The Women's Health Initiative has released a report documenting higher rates of breast cancer in women that took Prempro (a combination of the hormones estrogen and progestin). This study was extensive, as it followed over 12,000 women over a period of 11 years.

The most shocking finding was that, among the twelve thousand women: 
  • 385 women who had invasive breast cancer had also taken HRT....
  • ...compared to only 293 women who had invasive breast cancer without taking HRT.
  • HRT increased the risk of having breast cancer spread to lymph nodes
  • HRT doubled the chances of dying from breast cancer

There's still a great deal of controversy surrounding hormone replacement therapy & the added risks of contracting breast cancer. On the one hand, the increased risk of developing aggressive, invasive breast cancer seems obvious. Yet Yale endocrinologist Hugh Taylor says that HRT greatly improves the quality of life for those undergoing severe menopausal symptoms such as mood swings, greater irritability, personality changes, and decreased ability to focus and concentrate. 

Ultimately, to the regular woman, it seems that HRT will still be a judgment call made on an individual, case-by-case basis. The latest research and doctor's advice can only guide her decision.

There are so many causes - both known and still yet unknown - for the development of breast cancer. It will be a long time before the scientific and medical world knows all the factors that create additional risk. In all this uncertainty, I'm glad Moveable Feast is here to help those that suffer from breast cancer, and will be for many years to come.

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