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Originally published December 27 2006

U.S. breast cancer rate falls 7 percent after HRT drug use drops

by Jessica Fraser

(NaturalNews) Breast cancer rates in the United States fell by 7.2 percent in 2003, a year after millions of women stopped taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) drugs to treat the symptoms of menopause after a study showed the therapy boosted risk of the disease.

A federal study released in July 2002 was halted early when women taking estrogen-progestin HRT pills showed high rates of breast cancer and heart trouble. The FDA issued new warnings on the drugs, and women were told to use HRT pills at the lowest possible dose for the shortest time to relieve menopause symptoms.

The report -- presented Thursday at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium by researchers from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center -- found that breast cancer was the only category of the disease to see a significant change in 2003, indicating a strong connection with a reduction in HRT drug use.

"When I saw it, I couldn't believe it," said statistician Donald Berry.

Breast cancer cases dropped the most among women 50 and older -- the age group most likely to have been taking HRT drugs. The type of cancer most affected by the drop was hormone-sensitive breast cancer, which is affected by excess estrogen and progestin -- the two hormones used in most HRT therapies.

Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in U.S. women, with roughly 200,000 new cases expected each year. The 7 percent drop equates to roughly 14,000 fewer diagnoses.


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