Women undergoing hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to ease the symptoms of menopause are twice likely to develop ovarian cancer, according to a new study. The analysis of 52 studies found that women who use HRT for few year have 40 per cent greater chances of developing ovarian cancer than women who never used HRT.
The mass study was conducted by a team of 100 researchers at Oxford University that involved nearly 21488 women suffering from ovarian cancer from North America, Europe and Australia.
“For women who take HRT for 5 years from around age 50, there will be about one extra ovarian cancer for every 1000 users and one extra ovarian cancer death for every 1700 users,” says study co-author professor Sir Richard Peto from the University of Oxford. Although HRT use fell rapidly about a decade ago, this decrease has now levelled off and in the UK and USA alone about 6 million women are still taking HRT.
It was noticed that women using HRT in recent years are more vulnerable, and risk of developing ovarian cancer was more pronounce among the women who had used HRT in past five years. However, risk was significantly reduced after stopping the treatment but still there was more risk within five years of HRT use.
Moreover, age, body size, body mass index (BMI), alcohol use, tobacco use, etc. didn’t have any effect on the risk. HRT is used to replace hormones that the body no longer makes after menopause thus, it eases pain and relieves other menopause symptoms.
According to study co-author Professor Dame Valerie Beral “The definite risk of ovarian cancer even with less than 5 years of HRT is directly relevant to today’s patterns of use — with most women now taking HRT for only a few years — and has implications for current efforts to revise UK and worldwide guidelines”.