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Most Women Unaware of Hormone Replacement Study
Date:9/21/2007

Only 29% recall trial that cast doubt on supplemental estrogen's safety, study finds

FRIDAY, Sept. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Most women are unaware of the results of a large-scale study, released in 2002, that found significant cancer and heart risks associated with long-term hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

That study, called the Women's Health Initiative, generated massive amounts of publicity immediately after it was released. Its data caused many American women to abandon HRT altogether.

But just two years later, in June 2004, fewer than a third of women surveyed by Stanford University researchers said they knew about the findings.

"I was quite surprised by that. Other research had indicated that up to half had heard about it," said senior researcher Dr. Randall Stafford, associate professor of medicine, Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif., and the senior author of the study.

His team's study is published in the September/October issue of the journal Menopause.

When Stafford and his colleagues interviewed 781 women between the ages of 40 and 60, only 29 percent knew about the study. The question was posed this way: "Have you heard or read anything about the results of the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), a major research study in the U.S. suggesting the health risks of taking hormone therapy outweigh the benefits for most women?"

Those polled included 252 women who had not yet entered menopause, 88 classified as perimenopausal (having irregular menstrual cycles, but at least one period in the past 12 months), 227 women who were in or past menopause, and 196 who had surgically induced menopause after having undergone hysterectomy. For 18 women, menopausal status wasn't known due to missing data.

Next, the researchers ask whether HRT increases, decreases or has no impact on the risk of seven health conditions, including memory lo
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