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Home Clinical Clinical News Study reports link between drop in breast cancer rates and reduced hormone therapy

Study reports link between drop in breast cancer rates and reduced hormone therapy

n a new American study of more than two million mammogram screenings performed on nearly 700,000 women researchers showed what they state is a direct link between reduced hormone therapy and a decline in ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), as well as invasive breast cancer.
The researchers stated that they have also uncovered indirect evidence that hormones promote breast tumour growth.
The decline occurred in the age groups that most widely embraced then abandoned hormone therapy, they said.
“We show that the incidence of breast cancer decreases if you take the hormones away,’’ said senior author Dr Karla Kerlikowske, Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Helen
Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Centre, University of California, San Francisco. “The fact that we’re continuing to see a decrease in invasive cancer means that the effects of stopping the hormones may be long-lasting.’’
The study has been published online by the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
The scientists reviewed 2,071,814 screening mammography examinations performed between January 1997 and December 2008 on nearly 700,000 women between the ages of 40 and 79 as part of routine regular screening mammography.
They found that women aged 50 to 69 years old had the highest level of hormone usage    and showed the biggest reduction in invasive breast cancer when they stopped, from 40 cancers per 10,000 mammograms in 2002 to 31 cases in 2005, and 35 cancers in
2006. The scientists found that among women
40 to 49 years old, who were less likely to have been on hormone therapy, breast cancer rates did not change over the course of the decade studied.
“We believe the statistics offer convincing evidence that hormone therapy cessation reduces breast cancer risk,” said Dr Kerlikowske. “But major questions remain unanswered: Does a halt in hormone therapy correlate to a delay in the clinical detection of tumours, leading to a short-term reduction in cancer rates, but not a long-term drop? Do the effects apply long-term for all tumours influenced by hormone therapy?
“While scientists continue to investigate the relationship between hormones and cancer, using hormone therapy on a short-
term basis is probably OK. But long-term, it is not OK,” she added.

 

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