Hormone Replacement Therapy and Ovarian Cancer Risk

If you happen to be a woman beginning to experience problems related to hormone levels (i.e. with menopause), you may have noticed the commercials out there for Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to help alleviate symptoms. There is a story out there that after the analysis of over fifty studies, experts are seeing a distinct link between HRT and a forty percent increased risk of ovarian cancer (specifically the epithelial and endometrioid ovarian cancers). Many women begin receiving HRT to combat the hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal symptoms, and discomfort during sex that crop up in menopausal women. This latest research, however, shows it definitely may not be the risk to start HRT.

In addition to this ovarian cancer link, previous research has found HRT to cause greater risks of heart disease, stroke, blood clots, and breast cancer. The ovarian cancer link was found in those women currently being treated with HRT and those who had in the last five years. It was also noted that women who utilized HRT’s supposed benefits for at least five years were likely to still be at increased risk of ovarian cancer ten years later. The one silver lining is that once HRT is stopped, after shorter term use, the risk of ovarian cancer begins to diminish. It was found that factors such as age when HRT is started, body size, and past use of birth control pills did not change the risk. Neither did hysterectomy, alcohol use, tobacco use, or family history of breast or ovarian cancer.

The bottom line from the current research would be that women should beware taking advantage of HRT benefits long-term. It might be acceptable to utilize the therapy in the short-term, but only you can weigh the pros and cons with your medical provider to determine whether benefits outweigh risks. If you or someone you love has a condition thought to be related to the use of HRT, do not hesitate to contact Inserra & Kelley for a completely confidential consultation to review your options.