Posted on March 8th, 2009 by
According to the results of a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, & Prevention, use of postmenopausal hormones reduces the risk of colorectal cancer.
Postmenopausal hormone therapy with either estrogen alone or estrogen plus progestin effectively manages several common menopausal symptoms. However, large clinical trials conducted as part of the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) raised concerns about the health risks of these therapies. In 2002, for example, it was reported that combined estrogen plus progestin increases the risk of breast cancer, heart disease, stroke, and blood clots. Women taking estrogen plus progestin had fewer fractures and were less likely to develop colorectal cancer, but these benefits were thought to be outweighed by the risks for most women.
To further explore the effects of postmenopausal hormones on risk of colorectal cancer, researchers evaluated information from more than 56,000 postmenopausal women who participated in the Breast Cancer Detection Demonstration Project follow up study.
These results provide additional evidence that postmenopausal hormone use may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. Because postmenopausal hormones have a wide range of health effects, however, women who are considering using hormones to manage menopausal symptoms are advised to discuss the risks and benefits with their health care provider.
Reference: Johnson JR, Lacey JV, Lazovich D et al. Menopausal hormone therapy and risk of colorectal cancer. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, & Prevention. 2009;18:196-203.
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