Early use of HRT not safer than later

A NEW study showing use of HRT in the perimenopause increases the risk of breast cancer has added weight to findings from the controversial Women’s Health Initiative trial.

Analysis of the UK Million Women study showed the relative risk of breast cancer was 43% higher in women who used oestrogen-only HRT <5 years after menopause.

The risk of breast cancer was even higher in women who used combined oestrogen-progestin therapy in this period.

Professor Henry Burger, consultant endocrinologist at the Jean Hailes Foundation for Women’s Health, said the findings had to be balanced against the relatively large benefit for women troubled by severe symptoms.

“Using hormone therapy close to menopause helps your symptoms, probably helps your cardiovascular risk and your fracture risk, and somewhat increases your breast cancer risk,” he said.

Cancer Council chief Professor Ian Olver said it was clinically