Women who reported new-onset breast tenderness following use of estrogen-plus-progestin hormone replacement therapy (HRT) were at a much greater risk of developing breast cancer than women on the same HRT who did not report tenderness in their breasts, according to a study by researchers from the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California – Los Angeles.
The study was based on data from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), a research project into the mortality and morbidity of menopausal and post-menopausal women. One aspect of WHI looked into the benefits of HRT, but was halted in its early phases in 2002 when researchers found women on hormone therapy were at substantially higher risk of developing breast cancer than women who did not take HRT. The study also showed women were at greater risk for heart attacks, strokes and blood clots.
The new study on the connection between HRT use, breast tenderness and breast cancer involved 16,000 women, half of which were given estrogen-plus-progestin and the other half were given a placebo. The women who took the HRT who did not experience breast tenderness prior to therapy were three times more likely to report breast tenderness one year after beginning therapy, than women taking the placebo. Women on HRT who reported breast tenderness one year after beginning hormone therapy had a 48 percent high risk of developing invasive breast cancer than women also taking HRT who did not report new-onset breast tenderness at the one-year mark.
Researchers say more research needs to be done to understand the relationship between new-onset breast tenderness in women on HRT and breast cancer.
Source: Oncology Nursing News