We are often asked in the clinic about HRT and the increased risk of cancer. It’s a concern for many women however, studies show it not to be the case that HRT increases your risk of breast cancer.
If we were to follow one thousand women between the age of 50-59, over the next five years statistically twenty-three of them will get breast cancer. None of them would have been on HRT.
If all the one thousand women were on combined HRT there will be four extra cases of breast cancer. That tells us that breast cancer is a very common cancer irrespective and HRT will only slightly increase that risk.
Whether we are on HRT or not, we all must be aware. Check your breasts monthly and have your mammograms on schedule. Early detection is key to prognosis. There are very few contradictions to HRT, each needs to be considered on an individual basis. These include breast cancer sufferers or those who carry the BCRA gene. It is only when you have two or more first-degree relatives with breast cancer that you may stand a genetic disadvantage. One first degree with breast cancer, unfortunately, is the one in eight who was probably going to get breast cancer as part of the standard risk we all have.
The choice of any therapy is every individual right. It is our responsibility as clinicians to provide the facts and fulfil a patients right to information about available treatments.