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Taking Only Estrogen Tied To Cancer

Wed., Feb. 7, 1996

Taking estrogen alone produces such a substantial risk of uterine cancer that post-menopausal women opting for hormone therapy should strongly consider a protective regimen that includes progestin, according to the lead author of a new report on hormone therapy.

The findings, published in today’s Journal of the American Medical Association, provide the most comprehensive, controlled look to date at how various hormone regimens affect the lining of the uterus.

The data published today reveal that women taking estrogen alone had high rates of endometrial hyperplasia, a condition in which the endometrium, the lining of the uterus, grows excessively. Hyperplasia is considered a precursor of uterine cancer.

Women taking any one of three regimens that combined daily estrogen with progestin, however, had low rates of hyperplasia similar to women who were in a placebo group receiving no therapy.

“If a woman has a uterus and she considers hormone replacement therapy, our recommendation would be that she seriously consider the use of progestin,” said Dr. Howard Judd of the University of California, Los Angeles, Medical Center.

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