Hormone replacement therapy and cancer risk: we hear about it all the time. This guest post by Nader Ahmadnia of colonoscopy.com brings to light new research findings about HRT and its relationship to colorectal cancer. Interesting findings. I know – more to think about and weigh when considering risks vs benefit of HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy.) Sigh…and just when our brains have gone on safari or something. At any rate, this is worth reading.
Correlation Between Menopause Hormone Therapy and Cancer
What is Menopausal Hormone Therapy?
Many women turn to hormone therapy when they really need help with menopause symptoms like nighttime sweating and hot flashes. Hormone therapy involves the intake of estrogen and/or progesterone to make up for the natural drop in production of female hormones that occurs when women go through menopause. Typically, the treatment is temporary. Most doctors recommend that a patient stop relying on hormone therapy once the body adjusts to initial menopausal changes and symptoms taper off, as risks associated with this treatment method increase the longer a woman is on it.
Other names for Menopausal Hormone Therapy include:
Post-menopausal Hormone Therapy
Hormone Replacement Therapy
While Menopausal Hormone Therapy has met pretty widespread use in the United States, many doctors still debate whether the health benefits outweigh the risks. In particular, several large-scale studies have suggested that that hormone therapy could affect the likelihood that a woman will develop certain cancers, in particular cancer of the lining of the uterus, or endometrial cancer.
Does Menopausal Hormone Therapy Put Me At Risk of Colon Cancer?
According to the Women’s Health Initiative, in fact, Estrogen-Progestin Therapy (EPT) actually reduced the risk that a woman would develop cancer of the colon and/or rectum by as much as 40 percent. This staggering statistic dropped off somewhat after the woman had stopped undergoing this specific type of hormone treatment for a period of 2 years. These results have been replicated in various studies. Unfortunately, the same benefits were not as widely concluded in studies of colorectal cancer risk and Menopausal Hormone Therapy that utilized only Estrogen Therapy (ET).
Is Estrogen-Progestin Therapy Safe?
Because researchers are still collecting information about the correlation between hormone therapy and risk of cancer, there is no definite prognosis for patients going through menopause. It is best to consult a doctor who knows your specific medical history if you are concerned about your health. Although mature women looking to lower the risk of colorectal cancer with Estrogen-Progestin Therapy may find study results promising, it is important to take other factors into consideration, such as the effect that hormone therapy has on heart disease, stroke and susceptibility to blood clots. Estrogen-Progestin Therapy has also been shown to increase the risk of other cancers prevalent in females, such as breast cancer.
When considering any kind of Menopausal Hormone Therapy to treat your menopausal symptoms, talk to your primary care provider about taking the lowest dose possible and for only for how long it is necessary. Also talk to your doctor about exploring other options, such as herbal and/or dietary supplements. As usual, you will need to maintain a regular check-up schedule to check for signs of developing cancer. For more information about the benefits and risks of Menopause Hormone Therapy, visit online resources provided by reputable organizations such as the National Women’s Health Information Center and/or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).