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Hormones Raise Risk of Lung Cancer Death

Combined Estrogen and Progestin Treatment Raise Odds of Dying of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Hormone Therapy and Lung Cancer continued...

The researchers looked at lung cancer cases and deaths for the 5 1/2 years that the women took either hormones or placebo and for nearly 2 1/2 years afterward.

Among the findings, presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology:

  • There were 67 deaths from non-small cell lung cancer among the 8,052 hormone users vs. 39 among the 7,678 women who took the placebo, a significant difference.
  • After a diagnosis of non-small cell lung cancer, hormone users lived a median of 9.4 months, compared with 16.1 months for women taking placebo.
  • Among smokers, 3.4% of those who took hormones died from non-small cell lung cancer, compared with 2.3% of those who took placebo.
  • Among never-smokers, 0.2% of hormone users died from non-small cell lung cancer, compared with 0.1% of those on placebo.
  • There was no link between hormone therapy and risk of developing or dying from small-cell lung cancer.

Bruce Johnson, MD, of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, tells WebMD that the new study was better designed and thus “likely more accurate” than previous studies that showed no link between lung cancer and hormone therapy.

Hormone Therapy: What Should Women Do?

Smokers should definitely quit the habit if they are taking or considering taking combined hormone treatment, Chlebowski says.

Also, talk to your doctor about other options for relieving hot flashes and symptoms of menopause, he says.

If hormone treatment is needed, heed the FDA’s advice to take estrogen and progestin at the lowest doses for the shortest duration to reach treatment goals, doctors say.

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