HRT safe for breast cancer survivors?


Question from Dudie B: I am a 48-year-old 8-year survivor (DCIS). After a recent hysterectomy my ob/gyn wanted to put me on Estratest but my breast surgeon said it was too risky. Is it ever safe for survivors to take HRT?
Answers - Charles Loprinzi The pendulum seems to swing back and forth on the question of estrogen replacement therapy in women who've had breast cancer. Over the past decade or longer, there's been concern about giving these therapies to patients with a history of breast cancer. Interestingly, there are a number of new studies suggesting that estrogen therapy is not the big bad wolf that people thought it was. While the final answer on this is clearly not in, and while most physicians for quite some time are likely to be reluctant to give estrogen to breast cancer survivors, bits of new information suggest again that it's not so bad. Definitive studies—randomized placebo controlled trials—are in progress.
Jennifer Griggs, M.D., M.P.H. There are alternatives to hormone replacement therapy for most of the concerns that make physicians want to put somebody on hormone replacement therapy. For example, women at risk for osteoporosis have other alternatives that can be discussed with their medical providers.
Charles Loprinzi I agree that it's not clear-cut that estrogen needs to be started. The reason for starting estrogen might be for hot flashes, but other things could be tried.

On Wednesday, March 20, 2002, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Managing Menopausal SymptomsCharles Loprinzi, M.D., Debra Barton, Ph.D., and Jennifer Griggs, M.D., M.P.H. answered your questions about hot flashes, vaginal dryness, loss of libido, and other symptoms associated with menopause.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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