In a new study of more than 2 million mammogram screenings performed on nearly 700,000 women in the United States, scientists show a direct link between reduced hormone therapy and declines in ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) as well as invasive breast cancer.
For nearly a decade, postmenopausal women have been strongly advised to refrain from long-term hormone therapy or to use lowest dose possible for the shortest time to relieve hot flashes and night sweats. Numerous studies have suggested that women taking a combination of progestin and estrogen have a higher risk of breast cancer and other potential health hazards.
The study reviewed 2,071,814 mammograms performed between January 1997 and December 2008 on nearly 700,000 women between the ages of 40 and 79 as part of routine screening.
A clear pattern emerged:
Women 50 to 69 years old had the highest level of hormone usage--and showed the biggest reduction in invasive breast cancer when they stopped.
Rates of DCIS markedly dropped in the same age group after hormone therapy ended. There was a parallel drop in cancer among women older than age 70. Among women 40 to 49 years old, less likely to be on hormone therapy, had unchanged breast cancer rates over the course of the decade studied.
The results of this study corroborate previous reports and, to the authors, the statistics offer convincing evidence that hormone therapy cessation reduces breast cancer risk.
Robert G. Tupac, DDS, FACP, Inc., Diplomate, American Board of Prosthodontics (661) 325-1275 | www.drtupac.com 5060 California Ave., #170, Bakersfield, CA 93309