2005-07-30

Health: HRT Causes cancer

'Hormone Replacement Therapy' ('HRT') used by millions of women around the world causes cancer, according to the United Nation's cancer agency. It also said yesterday (2005-07-29) that the 'combined contraceptive pill', also used by millions, causes more types of cancers than previously thought. 'The International Agency for Research on Cancer' ('IARC'), which collates existing oncology studies, declared that consistent evidence emerging from studies in the past few years has lead it to reclassify hormonal menopause therapy from 'possibly carcinogenic to humans' to 'carcinogenic to humans'. The agency said studies have convincingly shown that doses of 'oestrogen' and 'progesterone' in combination slightly increase the risk of breast cancer. And 'oestrogen-only' treatment, while posing less of a risk for breast cancer, can cause 'endometrial' cancers. A major US American study into 'HRT' in 2002 established a link to breast cancer, while links to 'endometrial' cancers have long been known. But it is the first time the respected international agency has decisively labelled the treatment 'carcinogenic', effectively ending any remaining doubt. Director of IARC Mr.Peter Boyle said:
'[This report] address exposures that are experienced daily by many millions of women worldwide. 'It is of enormous public health importance that we identify and understand the full range of effects of these products.'
'HRT' is used to treat women suffering from symptoms caused by 'perimenopause' -- the transition before 'menopause' when 'oestrogen' and 'progesterone' levels drop. Symptoms include 'insomnia', 'mood swings', 'hot flushes', reduced mental clarity, vaginal dryness and heavy menstrual 'periods'. In 2000, approximately 20_million women in developed countries used 'HRT', although that number has dropped in recent years as the treatment has been linked to cancer. Many physicians continue to prescribe a low-dose therapy for severe cases, but symptom-specific treatments such as lubricants, blood-pressure medication and anti-depressants are becoming increasingly popular. The report also concluded that the 'combined contraceptive pill' causes more types of cancer than previously thought. Previously, 'The Pill' had been identified as causing liver cancer. Now, further research has demonstrated that it also slightly increases the risk of breast- and cervical- cancer, the agency said. However, the investigation also confirmed that the pill decreases the risk of 'endometrial' and 'ovarian' cancers. Mr.Vincent Cogliano, head of the agency's 'Monographs Department', which is widely regarded as the international authority on which substances cause cancer, said:
'It's a complicated picture. 'It doesn't mean women should stop taking the treatment. 'There are still other reasons to take it. 'Each woman has to discuss it with her doctor and weigh the risks and benefits.'
Worldwide, more than 100 million women -- about 10 per cent of all women of reproductive age -- currently use 'combined hormonal contraceptives'. Commonly known as 'The Pill' -- but also administered through patches and injections -- the treatment prevents pregnancy by stopping 'ovulation' and thickening the 'mucous' of the 'cervix' so 'sperm' cannot get through. 'Combined hormonal contraceptives' can cause weight gain, breast tenderness, depression and a decreased interest in sex. But it has also been shown to reduce the risk of 'Non-cancerous breast cysts', infections of 'The Fallopian Tubes', 'Iron Deficiency Anaemia' and 'ectopic', or 'tubal', pregnancies. 'Fears for millions as UN says HRT causes cancer ', Eben harrell, The Scotsman, 2005-07-30 sa Links: Breast cancer campaign Cancer Research UK HEBS - cancer National Alliance of breast cancer organisations

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

frightening

8/05/2005 05:27:00 am  

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