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Study Indicates An Increased Risk Of Breast Cancer In Women Undertaking Estrogen and Testosterone Therapy

According to an article that was published in the July 24 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, which is one of the JAMA/Archives journals, states that women who take// combination of estrogen and testosterone to treat the symptoms of menopause may have an increased risk of breast cancer.

Through this article the researchers explain that as women age, their normal levels of the testosterone hormone would be likely to decrease, according to background information in the article. They have explained that evidence has suggested that many of the symptoms of menopause that include decreased sex drive, worse moods and poorer quality of life would be related to this decline in testosterone.

Clinical trials have shown that taking testosterone in combination with estrogen may reduce these symptoms and also promote bone health. Only one estrogen plus testosterone therapy is currently available to U.S. women, but the number and prevalence of such treatments are expected to increase in coming years, the authors write.

Rulla M. Tamimi, Sc.D., Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, and colleagues studied the long-term effects of estrogen plus testosterone therapy in 121,700 women who were part of the Nurses' Health Study. The study enrolled female nurses between the ages of 30 and 55 years beginning in 1976. The women completed an initial questionnaire and follow-up surveys every two years that included questions about menopausal status, medical conditions and the use of postmenopausal hormone therapy. For those who reported a diagnosis of breast cancer, medical records were reviewed for verification.

During 24 years of follow-up, 4,610 cases of breast cancer occurred among postmenopausal women. Overall, only 33 women included in this analysis reported current use of estrogen and testosterone in 1988. Women who were currently taking estrogen plus testosterone (29 women) had a 77 percent higher risk of de
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