For thousands of women who experience abnormal difficulties during menopause and have been prescribed Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), there is disturbing news from the science community. Research suggests there is a link between HRT and breast cancer. This connection had been suspected as far back as 2001, but was widely disputed up until recently. Studies show that women who took the most commonly prescribed HRT for five years were more than twice as likely to develop cancer as those who took nothing. Women who took HRT for more than 10 years tripled their risk.
In light of these developments, the question is whether or not HRT is worth the chance. According to consultant gynecologist Professor Mary Ann Lumsden, “If a woman is sleep-deprived, suffering depression and discomfort, struggling to get through the working day and relationships are under strain, it is most definitely worth the risk.” She asserts that the odds are higher for those who are overweight or drink frequently. Professor Klim McPherson of Oxford University also expresses concern for those who may not have healthy habits under normal circumstances, because the risk “…is greater than the increased breast cancer risk posed by obesity or regular drinking alone…”
Author and journalist Dame Jenni Murray, who was prescribed HRT for 10 years and stopped when she developed cancer, doesn’t believe that HRT is ever worth the potential setbacks. “The fact is, menopause goes away,” she says. “Breast cancer—if you survive—never goes away.”
What we can take away from these opposing viewpoints is that a healthy lifestyle reduces the risk of breast cancer, and whether or not you should take HRT is an important decision for which you should get sound counsel from experts before moving forward.