Submitted by Deborah Mitchell on Nov 9th, 2009
Research suggests that the decline in hormone therapy during postmenopause is a key reason for the decline seen in a known risk factor for breast cancer. Atypical ductal hyperplasia is associated with a three- to fivefold increased risk of developing breast cancer.
Ever since the release of the results of the Women’s Health Initiative studies, which were conducted in the 1990s, there has been a reduction in the use of hormone replacement therapy by women. The estrogen plus progesterone study found an increased risk of breast cancer, stroke, heart attack, and blood clots associated with taking the combination therapy, while women who took estrogen alone were found to be at increased risk of stroke and venous thrombosis (blood clots usually in deep vein in the legs). Specifically, postmenopausal hormone treatment is associated with a greater risk of benign breast biopsies as well as early and late stages of breast cancer and atypical ductal hyperplasia.
Atypical ductal hyperplasia, according to Mayo Clinic, forms when breast cells in the milk ducts become abnormal in size, shape, number, appearance, and growth pattern. If the abnormal cells continue to grow and are not treated, they may become invasive breast cancer.