A 2002 Women's Health Initiative study uncovered the link between Prempro -- which is created by combining a synthetic form of the progesterone with estrogen drawn from the urine of female horses -- and breast cancer. Lawyers for Linda Reeves charge that taking Pempro for eight years caused her breast cancer.
Wyeth's lawyers claim there is no proof that Prempro is related to Reeve's breast cancer in any way.
Doctors such as Dr. Gary Butler say that women need both estrogen and progensterone hormones to be properly balanced, but too much can cause growths in female sex organs that can sometimes be cancerous.
“The side effects we see from synthetics may be the body's way of saying it's just not exactly right,” said Butler, a hormone replacement therapy specialist. “Progesterone is a hormone that women's bodies make that not only helps balance and make the estrogen work better, but it also helps negate some of the bad effects, and helps prevent breast cancer and uterine cancer that the hormones can promote.”
Butler fears that the negative publicity caused by the lawsuit will deter women from hormone replacement therapy.
“The problem is, when they get off of it for fear of some of the risks, then they lose all the benefits, and estrogen in a woman's body is a fantastic thing. It's what makes them women," he said. "It protects a lot of their organs.”