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Estrogen-Only HRT Safe for 15 Years

After Hysterectomy, Breast Cancer Risk Rises Only After 15 Years of HRT

Making Treatment Decisions

The findings are good news to James Pickar, MD, assistant vice president of clinical research and development for Wyeth."For the majority of women taking estrogen in the 10-year window after hysterectomy, this finding of no increased risk in that time frame should be reassuring," Pickar tells WebMD. "We have not changed our recommendations or our labeling. Women should discuss with their doctors using the lowest dose that works for them for a time consistent with their treatment goals."

Taylor says it's good news for women, too.

"With estrogen alone, the biggest fear women have isn't there," Taylor tells WebMD. "For a woman with a hysterectomy, the decision about whether to take estrogen is an easy decision today. The heart protection is there. The bone protection is there. The breast cancer risk isn't there. For women with no hysterectomy, the decision remains more difficult."

Chen, Taylor, and Pickar agree that a woman taking HRT should see her doctor at least once a year. At each visit, she should discuss whether the benefits of HRT are worth the risks of continuing treatment.

Even though short-term estrogen-only HRT doesn't carry a breast cancer risk, it's not risk free. The treatment does increase a woman's chances of blood clots and stroke.

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