October 21st, 2010 by Heather Dillaway
Yes, the hormone therapies prescribed for women in perimenopause and beyond have already been suspect. Especially after the initial Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) trial results in 2002 (but even before that), researchers documented the health risks associated with the use of hormones during menopause, especially combination hormone therapies (therapies including estrogen plus progesterone, such as Prempro). SMCR’s Jerilynn Prior has done plenty of work on this as has SMCR’s Paula Derry, and WHI researchers and spokespeople have had to come out about many of the health risks as well. Now, this week, we find out that not only is there an increased risk of breast cancer for women who use these hormone therapies but that, according to a New York Times article published on Tuesday, “Women who took hormones and developed breast cancer were more likely to have cancerous lymph nodes, a sign of more advanced disease, and were more likely to die from the disease than were breast cancer patients who had never taken hormones.” According to this New York Times article, this report is the first to reveal WHI death rates.
After the dust settled from the original WHI reports about the risks of hormone therapies, researchers and doctors often made claims that it was still okay for women to be on hormone therapies for an extended period of time. Instances of death (instead of just disease/illness) are now causing some researchers and doctors to come forward and say that it is no longer safe for women to be on hormone therapies for this amount of time. Dr. Chleblowski, an author of the latest study about women’s mortality, is quoted in the New York Times article as saying that women should not stay on Prempro for more than a year or two.