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HRT Raises Risk of Breast Cancer Death

Combined Hormone Replacement Therapy May Be more Deadly for Some

Sorting Out the Risks and Benefits of HRT continued...

For women in their late to mid-60s, they are most concerned about the potential increase in dementia.

Q. What about the women who went off HRT due to the news from the WHI study?

A. What's happened since July 2002 is that many women elected to wean down their dose of HRT or stop it abruptly, and we are now seeing these women back in the office.

Many have made the transition successfully, and many are miserable and really miss their hormones. For those women, we look at the risks and the benefits, and many of them choose to go on a low dose of hormone replacement therapy to improve their quality of life.

Q. If a woman is using HRT, what are some issues she should discuss with her doctor?

A. Here are some questions I'd recommend:

  • How long have I been on hormones?
  • Why did I start to use hormones?
  • Why am I continuing to use hormones?
  • What are my risk and benefits to continuing them?

Each of these issues should be discussed at each visit.

Q. If a woman decides to stop taking hormones, are there other issues she should consider?

A. One issue many women are not aware of is that when women go off hormones, they usually begin having symptoms, such as hot flashes, that begin two weeks later and peak at about eight weeks after they stopped taking hormones. But these symptoms then start to calm back down. A three-month trial is usually long enough for women to get a sense of whether stopping HRT is something they can handle.

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