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HRT And Alcohol Combine Increases Risk Of Breast Cancer

In what is a huge indictment of the hormone replacement therapy (HRT), Swedish scientists at the Karolinska Institutet say that alcohol is contraindicated in women on HRT since it increases the risk of developing the most // common form of breast cancer in these women.

Hormone Replacement Therapy is the option that most women take to after reaching menopause. This method of replacing the hormones sidesteps some of the worst effects of menopause including hot flushes and irritability. But the current study finds that women who are on HRT risk the development of estrogen positive breast cancer if they continue to drink alcohol. Our results suggest that women taking hormones should avoid alcohol, said Professor Alicja Wolk, the lead researcher in the study. For those women who have to take hormones, what they can do is avoid alcohol so it will not have a multiplier effect on the risk for cancer.

The Karolinska study tracked data on alcohol consumption from 1987 to 1990 as well as 1997 in 51,847 postmenopausal women. The researchers identified 1,188 breast cancer patients among these women on HRT by the middle of 2004. Wolk said that the increased risk was for estrogen receptor positive breast cancer, which is by far the most common of the prevalent breast cancers. The findings are detailed in the U.S. Journal of the National Cancer Institute that is to be released on Wednesday.

Breast cancer is the commonest cancer in women around the world. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France, the cancer claims 400,000 lives each year. Even with the increasing technological advances, which make it possible to detect grain sized tumors; breast cancer continues to plague millions across the globe.

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