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Treatments for menopausal symptoms and how they can increase the risk of breast cancer

Review on November 24, 2009

Menopause symptoms treatments

Menopause symptoms are a natural result of decreased levels of estrogen in a women's body. Such a imbalance can cause a number of the 34 symptoms of menopause. Such symptoms can include: Vaginal dryness, night sweats and incontinence. Many women choose to use the artificial means of hormone therapy in order to address this balance and rid themselves of the embarrassing and sometimes painful effects of these menopause symptoms. Placing such chemicals in the body brings with it well documented side effects. One of the most dangerous of these is the increased risks of breast cancer. Such a side effect has been noted as more prolific amongst women who have a less clinically advanced tumor and in those who have a leaner body mass. Women who had previously been treated with hormone therapy were monitored in a more recent study in order to more conclusively prove the link between estrogen based treatments and the risk of contracting breast cancer.

Menopause symptoms cancering

 As a potent chemical to place into the body's natural hormonal balance, estrogen can cause a flurry of side effects. The possible commencement of breast cancer has been cited as one of these possible side effects. Studies have proven that such commonness is sometimes dependant on the presence of a tumor, or the body mass of the woman. Such studies have also revealed that the type of estrogen program is also directly tied to the risk of breast cancer. Clinical trials found that a combined program of estrogen, such as estrogen-progestin bring with it a greater risk of increasing the chances of contracting breast cancer then through taking estrogen alone. The study also found that such results in the comparison of the risks between estrogen and estrogen-progestin treatment are complicated by other factors. The main factor is the body mass of the women tested. For estrogen alone the risk increased in lean women but not for heavy women analyzed in the study. Further analysis has then shown that there's a concrete risk for women who decide to use hormone therapy in order to treat their menopausal symptoms

Menopause symptoms are widely treated by hormone therapy but such treatment should be undertaken with a great deal of caution. Recent studies have further shown that there is a definite link between the treatment of menopausal symptoms using estrogen and the risk of breast cancer. Such a risk is interchangeable depending on a woman's overall body mass and the type of estrogen regimen that is being taken.


Sources:
  • 'Menopausal Estrogen and Estrogen-Progestin Replacement Therapy and Breast Cancer Risk' Catherine Schairer, PhD; Jay Lubin, PhD; Rebecca Troisi, ScD; Susan Sturgeon, DrPH; Louise Brinton, PhD; Robert Hoover, MD JAMA. 2000;283:485-491.