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Expert Warn- Odds Still Stacked Against Hormone Replacement Therapy

Debates and vigorous arguments never seem to leave the Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) issue, especially in the wake of a respected// report reversing its ‘notoriety’.

Yet say some experts, don’t be in a hurry to start HRT all over again. According to them, hormone replacement therapy may have led to the deaths of more than 1,000 women in the UK from ovarian cancer since 1991.

In an article said to be the first such decisive one on the calculations of deaths related to HRT, the research led by Professor Valerie Beral and team from Oxford University feel that the results should sound the warning loud and clear; HRT is to be taken with caution.

Published in the online version of The Lancet, the research was based on 1.3 million women in the UK aged around 50 years. The study :The Million Women Study, claims to be the largest of its kind with one in four women in the UK of the target age participating.

Between 1996 and 2001, the subjects completed a questionnaire about their lifestyle, their social and demographic background and their use of HRT. Three years later they were sent a second one, which 64 percent filled in. Every participant was followed up for death, emigration or cancer registration.

Accordingly, the study shows that one woman in 2,500 will get ovarian cancer while a long-term user of HRT and one in every 3,300 will die from it. The risks of breast cancer are the highest, accounting for a probable 20,000 cases over a decade.

The article also says the ovarian cancer risks should not be taken in isolation.

Says Beral: "In total, ovarian, endometrial and breast cancer account for 39 percent of all cancers registered in women in the UK. The total incidence of these three cancers in the study population is 63 percent higher in current users of HRT than in newer users.”

HRT leads to "a material increase" in these common cancers, the authors conclude. When women stop tak
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