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The HRT Lung Cancer Risk

Posted by Jane Akre
Monday, June 01, 2009 11:32 AM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: Lung Cancer, Hormone Replacement Therapy, Women's Health, HRT, Women's Health Initiative

Olivia Newton John is in videos concerning cancer treatment options.                                 



IMAGE SOURCE: Olivia Newton-John video for ACSO


Is there a link between hormone replacement therapy and lung cancer?

Hormone replacement therapy or HRT was routinely used to treat the symptoms of menopause until a link was found to breast cancer, stroke and blood clots. Still, about 30 million prescriptions are written every year.

Now in findings from the Women’s Health Initiative, a long-term research program on women’s health, indicate that combining estrogen and progestin can lead to a 59 percent increase in the risk of death with a non-small cell lung cancer, ABC News reports. 

These findings were released at the American Society of Clinical Oncology.  

The Women’s Health Initiative included more than 16,000 postmenopausal women who received a placebo treatment or two hormones.  Because of the harm posed, the study was stopped prematurely but observing those who got the hormones, researchers noticed an increase in fatal and non-fatal cancers among that group, particularly among non-small cell lung cancers.

In that group, women who developed non-small cell lung cancers had a median survival rate of a little over nine months compared to the placebo group who got the disease and had a 16 month survival rate. 

Among more than 8,000 women, there were 67 deaths among those on hormones.   Among more than 7,000 women there were 37 deaths among the placebo group. 

Across the board, smoking increased the risk of death. 

"Women almost certainly shouldn't be using both combined hormone therapy and tobacco," Dr. Rowan Chiebowski said to ABC News.

He is with Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles and presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).      

The researchers reported financial links with Amgen, AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Novartis and Wyeth.  The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health. 

ASCO sponsors cancer.net and Kaleidoscope to provide patients with information and videos on living with cancer and treatment options.  Singer Olivia Newton-John attended the ASCO annual meeting. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992 and calls herself a “thriver” of breast cancer.

The Women’s Health Initiative began in 1991 to study the most common causes of death and disease in postmenopausal women including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and osteoporosis.  Research has focused on hormone therapy, the role of diet, calcium, and vitamin D supplements. #

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