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Less than one-third of women aware of landmark hormone therapy study, Stanford researcher finds
Date:9/18/2007

herapy, finding that the hormone did not offer any benefit in terms of heart disease prevention while increasing the risk of stroke and blood clots.

The WHI findings were the subject of unprecedented media coverage and triggered enormous changes in the use of hormone therapy. Hormone therapy prescriptions dropped 38 percent in the year following the 2002 estrogen-progestin findings, according to Stafford's previous research, with more recent data suggesting continued declines in hormone therapy use.

Although WHI changed the prescribing patterns of physicians, Stafford wanted to find out how well the findings stuck in the minds of U.S. women. To determine this, he and his team conducted a nationally representative survey of 781 women between the ages of 40 and 60 in June 2004 - two years after the estrogen-progestin results were announced, and two months after the estrogen-only findings. The respondents included 252 premenopausal women, 88 perimenopausal women (having irregular menstrual cycles, but at least one period in the past 12 months), 227 postmenopausal women (having no period in at least 12 months) and 196 women who had undergone a hysterectomy, thereby inducing menopause.

One of the survey questions was, "Have you heard or read anything about the results of the Women's Health Initiative, a major research study in the U.S. suggesting the health risks of taking hormone therapy outweigh the benefits for most women"" Stafford found that only 29 percent of the women knew about WHI, and that the level of awareness was lowest among younger women, African-American women and those with less education.

The survey then asked what the women knew about specific risks and benefits associated with hormone therapy. Only 40 percent of the women answered more questions correctly than incorrectly. For example, 64 percent knew that hormones increased the risk of breast cancer, but just 9 percent knew the medication increased the risk for mem
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Contact: Rosanne Spector
manishma@stanford.edu
650-725-5374
Stanford University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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