Would you like to see a cat fight? Just ask two cancer researchers whether hormone replacement therapy (HRT) causes cancer. This question certainly provoked several arguments in the medical community this week.
The first feud started once a report in the New England Journal of Medicine linked the decline in breast cancer rates in 2003 to reduced usage of hormone replacement therapy.
After that announcement, the International Menopause Society (IMS) attacked the report’s credibility by pointing out shortcomings like “a transient decrease in breast cancer incidence was observed also around 1987-9.” And so for the IMS, the ultimate cause of cancer remains questionable-not a definite HRT side effect.
The next tiff to take place over HRT happened once The Lancet unveiled findings from the One Million Women Study. The United Kingdom-based study followed almost 950,000 postmenopausal women for five years to investigate the link between ovarian cancer incidence and HRT usage.
According to the researchers, women who use HRT are at an increased risk of both incident and fatal ovarian cancer.
Then in true fighter spirit, the International Menopause Society discredited this HRT study as well. This time the IMS argued that the Lancet study skewed its numbers and that such ill-derived results, “will inevitably cause further unnecessary distress to the many women who are benefiting from HRT.”
It appears the struggles over the safeness of hormone replacement therapy will endure ad infinitum. Meanwhile, should adults continue to use hormone replacement therapy in the mist of possible cancer risks?
If eradicating wrinkles and maintaining your skin’s elasticity as long as possible are important to you, then hormone replacement therapy will help you to meet this goal.
For example, postmenopausal women who use hormone therapy for five years or less typically had fewer wrinkles and firmer skin than women who opted not to use the treatment.
Similarly, a study in the journal Dermatology recommended using hormone replacement therapy to counteract the natural loss of facial tissue, or plumpness, which occurs with aging.
Moreover, results from the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey discovered the after examining nearly 3,800 postmenopausal women, those using hormone replacement therapy had significantly less wrinkling and skin dryness.
While hormone replacement therapy may sound like a cosmetic redeemer, the battle over the safeness of this controversial therapy continues on a number of fronts. You have your choice of natural, synthetic and bioidentical hormones. Likewise, you have passionate professionals evangelizing the virtues and evils of every variation of estrogen.
Ultimately, the choice to use hormone replacement therapy resides with you the consumer, your health history and your budget. Because, while you are busy browsing over hormones, researchers will still debate whether you are taking cancerous risks or slowing the aging process.
Beral, Valerie; Million Women Study Collaborators. Ovarian cancer and hormone replacement therapy in the Million Women Study. The Lancet Early Online Publication; April 19, 2007.
Dunn, LB; M Damesyn, AA Moore, DB Reuben & GA Greendale. Does estrogen prevent skin aging? Results from the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES I). Archives of Dermatology; March 1997, vol 133, no 3, pp 339 – 342.
International Menopause Society. IMS Reaction to Report on Breast Cancer Incidence in 2003 in US. April 17, 2007.
International Menopause Society. Response to Lancet Paper on Ovarian Cancer in the Million Women Study. April 18, 2007.
Ravdin, Peter M et al. The Decrease in Breast-Cancer Incidence in 2003 in the United States. New England Journal of Medicine; April 19, 2007 vol 356, no 16, pp 1670-1674.
Sator, Paul-G; Jolanta B Schmidt, Thomas Rabe & Christos C Zouboulis. Skin aging and
sex hormones in women – clinical perspectives for intervention by hormone replacement therapy. Experimental Dermatology; December 2004, vol 13, no 4, pg 36-40.
Wolff, Erin F; Deepak Narayan & Hugh S Taylor. Long-term effects of hormone therapy on skin rigidity and wrinkles. Fertility and Sterility; August 2005, vol 84, no 2, pp 285-288.
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