Doctors: Not All Hormone Therapies Created Equal

 ORLANDO, Fla. — Doctors say hormone treatment is popular among women looking for relief from menopausal symptoms, but there are risks. New findings released from a Women’s Health Initiative study show not only increased breast cancer risk associated with hormone treatment, but higher rates of advanced and deadly breast cancer. Some doctors say they don’t want women to be alarmed by this study.

Dr. Jennifer Landa, a specialist in hormone therapy at Body Logic MD in Maitland, said the study showing increased risk of breast cancer associated with the drug Prempro, an artificial form of progesterone, doesn’t mean all hormone therapy is bad.

“Don’t be scared off your hormones, there is still a safe way of doing this, just don’t use Prempro,” Landa said.

Landa said the safest way to do hormone replacement is using the hormones found naturally in women’s bodies.

“I want women to know there’s a safe option with HRT that is using estrogen estradiols and progesterone, not progestin, and that will not increase risk of breast cancer,” Landa said.

There are 40 million prescriptions still written every year for hormone replacement.

Teresa Schroeder, one of Landa’s patients, is a believer in her hormone therapy regimen.

“I got my energy level back and I felt more me than ever before,” Schroeder said.

Schroeder said she started using hormones prescribed by her doctor after noticing unexpected weight gain and energy loss. She said tests revealed a hormonal imbalance brought on by birth control and early signs of menopause.

“I didn’t want to wait until menopause to start this battle. I wanted to start early,” Schroeder said. “But it’s a personal decision.”

Every patient is different and doctors said women should not start or stop taking any medicines or treatments without consulting with their physician first.

For example, hormone therapy is not an option for some people. Dr. Nikita Shah, a breast cancer oncologist at M.D. Anderson Orlando, said cancer patients can’t use hormone therapies because of long-known increased risks. Dr. Shah said there are many alternatives for treating menopausal symptoms such as anti-depressants, vitamin E and even acupuncture.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 20th, 2010 at 12:40 am and is filed under Health Notes. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

 

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