Hormone therapy, calcium may lower fracture risk
At the start of the study, 60 percent of the women were postmenopausal, 25 percent of whom were current users of estrogen-only HRT, and 33 percent of whom were current users of estrogen-plus-progestin HRT. During the study period, 323 women (0.27 percent) were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. There was no link between the use of estrogen-plus-progestin HRT and pancreatic cancer risk. The age of participants at menopause, and whether they’d ever had children or breast-fed, were also not associated with pancreatic cancer risk.
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However, the combination treatment had no effect on women’s bone mineral density – a reflection of osteoporosis and fracture risk, Wactawski-Wende and her team reported in the journal Menopause. Some previous studies have suggested that vitamin D may protect against fractures less by strengthening bones than by improving muscle strength and thereby reducing falls, but others have not found the same effect. Hormone therapy has become less common since WHI data linked hormone use to heart disease, stroke and breast cancer, though it’s still considered the most effective treatment for some symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes. Curtis, who wasn’t involved in the new research, said she thinks the pendulum initially swung too far away from hormone therapy, and that doctors are coming to realize it may still help some women. “I think ultimately people have become aware that maybe it’s not the placebo for getting older that some may have perceived it was being marketed as, but that maybe there are benefits for it,” she told Reuters Health.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/28/us-hormone-therapy-idUSBRE95R0YN20130628