Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Breast Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Menopause Treatment a Cancer Risk?

Study Shows Estrogen Plus Testosterone May Up Risk of Breast Cancer

Risks vs. Benefits

So what's a woman to do?

"Given the substantial evidence implicating combined estrogen plus progestin therapy in breast cancerand the results of the present study regarding estrogen plus testosterone therapy, women and their physicians should reconsider use and, more specifically, long-term use of these therapies," the researchers conclude. "Although postmenopausal therapies may provide improvement with respect to sexual functioning, general well-being, and bone health, the increased risk of breast cancermay outweigh these benefits."

When it comes to treating the symptoms of menopause, "'safe' is a relative term," says Donnica Moore, MD, a women's health expert based in Far Hills, N.J. "There is no product -- prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) -- that works that is absolutely free of side effects. And there are also risks, per se, of not treating symptoms," Moore says. "There is no one-size-fits-all answer for all women. Each woman with menopausal symptoms or concerns should speak with her doctor, who is in the best position to help her decide what's best for her given her unique circumstances, her symptoms, her risks, and her medical history."

The use of testosterone as part of a hormone replacement therapy may continue to increase, Moore predicts. "This is in large part due to increased awareness of the benefits of testosterone for women with decreased libido," she tells WebMD.

"Women should not take any OTC or pharmaceutically created testosterone that isn't prescribed by their doctor -- and your doctor knows your specific risks," says Lila E. Nachtigall, MD, a reproductive endocrinologist and director of the Women's Wellness program at New York University School of Medicine in New York City. Nachtigall is also the author of several books including Estrogen.

"The bottom line is that women must discuss their own risks and benefits with their doctor."

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

Breast Cancer Overview
From self-exams and biopsies to reconstruction, we’ve got you covered.
Dealing with breast cancer
Get answers to your questions.
woman having mammogram
Experts don’t agree on all fronts, but you can be your own advocate.
woman undergoing breast cancer test
Many women worry. But the truth? Most abnormalities aren’t breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Treatments Improving
Resolved To Quit Smoking
Woman getting mammogram
Screening Tests for Women
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
serious woman
what is your cancer risk
10 Ways to Revitalize Slideshow