Hormone Replacement Therapy And Breast Cancer

Hormone Replacement Therapy And Breast Cancer

Hormone replacement therapy is a medication that alters hormone (A chemical messenger is a hormone) levels in the body to lessen menopausal symptoms.

They may have an impact on our mood, fertility, and growth. Hormone replacement therapy is normally contraindicated in case of breast cancer because it can relapse the breast cancer.

The ovaries begin to generate less of the hormone estrogen during menopause. As a result, some people could suffer menopausal symptoms including mood swings and hot flashes.

These symptoms can be quite bothersome for some people, and hormone replacement therapy might help to lessen them.

Hormone treatment is an option for transgender men and women. However, the amount of study on the potential cancer risk is still insufficient. Only menopausal hormone replacement therapy and cancer risk are discussed on this page.

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Types of hormone replacement therapy

The most common forms of hormone replacement therapy are:

  • Only-estrogen hormone replacement therapy
  • Oestrogen and progestogen-based combined hormone replacement treatment

Your doctor will guide you better as to what type of hormone replacement therapy will be better for you.

Does hormonal replacement treatment raise the chance of developing breast cancer?

If you’ve already received a breast cancer diagnosis, HRT may raise your chance of recurring the disease.

Doctors often advise against using HRT which affects the entire body in women with a history of breast cancer due to this risk (called systemic HRT). [Ref]

A 2020 study that examined a substantial body of research on the relationship between HRT and breast cancer supported the findings of prior investigations. [ref]

The researchers found that long-term or continuous usage of either estrogen-only therapy or progesterone-and-estrogen combination therapies markedly raised the risk of breast cancer. They discovered that the risk might vary depending on the kind of HRT.

Additionally, they claimed that estradiol-dydrogesterone-based HRT had the lowest risk of breast cancer development and that the risk seemed to decrease if HRT treatment was discontinued.

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Combined hormone replacement therapy and breast cancer

The risk factor for combined estrogen and progesterone therapy may be the greatest of all HRT types. A 75% increased risk of breast cancer is thought to exist for women who take combined HRT. [ref]

The group also pointed out that combined HRT raises the possibility that a doctor may discover a patient’s breast cancer at a more advanced stage, increasing the chances of death.

In line with the 2020 study, the duration of HRT raises the chance of developing breast cancer. However, it also sharply declines when someone stops using HRT.

They also found out that for the progesterones medroxyprogesterone and levonorgestrel, the risk is lowered after five and ten years, respectively.

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), the risk of breast cancer increases three years on average after a person stops using combination HRT. [Ref]

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Oestrogen-only HRT and Breast Cancer

The chance of getting breast cancer can also rise with HRT which just contains estrogen. However, after ten years of continual use, the danger could only rise. [ref]

The 2020 research demonstrated that there was a minor increase in risk following the use of estrogen-only HRT.

The risk did grow over time. The longer it had been since a person stopped using HRT, the less danger there was, they added.

Can someone use HRT if they have breast cancer now or in the past?

HRT should not be used by anyone who has breast cancer or has ever had it. They ought to see a doctor about other possibilities instead.

Using HRT after breast cancer treatment may raise the risk of recurrence or the growth of new tumors, according to the ACS [Ref].

Nonhormonal methods are among the first-line options for treating menopausal symptoms in patients receiving treatment for breast cancer or after that, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

These include lubricants to relieve vaginal problems, topical anesthetics, and moisturizers.

If non-hormonal methods are unsuccessful for a person with a record of estrogen-dependent breast cancer, vaginal estrogen treatment may be used. Low hormone dosages are delivered through vaginal estrogen treatment.

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Can someone with a family history of breast cancer have HRT?

Because this cancer is a reasonably common condition, the majority of women will carry a family history of the condition.

However, only 10% of breast cancers detected each year are thought to have a hereditary or familial origin. If contemplating HRT, women with a breast cancer history in their families should talk to their doctor.

Breast cancer will affect one in every seven women at some point in their lives. Accordingly, breast cancer will be diagnosed in 1 in 7 women who use HRT.

Nevertheless, this is not because of the HRT. Instead, it would have occurred to them regardless. There is no conclusive evidence that using HRT raises your risk of getting breast cancer.

In contrast to a very minor higher risk of breast cancer compared to women who do not have a family history of the disease.

Some research suggests the following. Women who use hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and have a family history of breast cancer have a lower chance of developing the illness later in life than those who do not.

This suggests that BRCA-positive women, particularly those with a family history of breast cancer, can routinely receive hormone replacement therapy without running any risk.

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What do you think?

Written by Dr. Ahmed

I am Dr. Ahmed (MBBS; FCPS Medicine), an Internist and a practicing physician. I am in the medical field for over fifteen years working in one of the busiest hospitals and writing medical posts for over 5 years.

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