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Hormone Replacement Therapy Can Increase Risk of Recurrence

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) continues to look like a bad idea.  Research in the past has linked HRT with the incidence of breast cancer.  A new study by European scientists implicates HRT in the recurrence of cancer—for hormone-receptor-positive and hormone-receptive-negative cancer.

That is, HRT might cause cancer in the first place and can cause it to return in survivors. Even for those with hormone-negative tumors.

Results of the HABITS (Hormonal Replacement after Breast Cancer: Is It Safe?) trial published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute showed a:

• 17.6 percent risk of a recurrence or a new tumor among women taking HRT
• 7.7 percent risk among women not taking HRT

These data were taken four years after diagnosis.  

As an alternative to hormone replacement, the National Cancer Institute recommends:
• regular exercise
• a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in fat
• limited alcohol
• no smoking
• flaxseed, whole grain cereal, and legumes

Vitamin D supplements and calcium can limit the loss of bone mass.

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