Lengthy HRT Use May Up Ovarian Cancer
Risk Seen in Women Taking Hormone Replacement Therapy for 5 or More Years
The ovarian cancer risk seen in the study "might be thought of as small,
but enormous numbers of women have been exposed" through HRT use, states an
editorial in The Lancet.
HRT use has dropped based on previous studies showing other health risks
with long-term HRT use, notes editorialist Steven Narod, MD, FRCP.
Narod directs the Familial Breast Cancer Research Unit at the Women's
College Research Institute and is also a professor in the public health
sciences department at the University of Toronto.
"With these new data on ovarian cancer, we expect the use of HRT to fall
further," writes Narod. We hope that the number of women dying of ovarian
cancer will decline as well."
Short-Term HRT Use
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) issued a statement
about the study.
"Although long-term use of estrogen appears to increase the risk of
ovarian cancer, women should be reassured that short-term use for symptomatic
treatment at or near menopause is unlikely to increase the risk of ovarian
cancer appreciably," says Robert Rebar, MD, ASRM executive director, in the
"These data, added together with the most recent data from the Women's
Health Initiative, provide reassurance all-in-all that short-term use of
estrogen is not harmful to symptomatic women," says Rebar.