For some women, menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and vaginal changes can be severe and debilitating, greatly affecting their quality of life. In search of relief, some consider hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which is proven to help these symptoms. But HRT also can mean risks that aren’t completely understood yet. Our understanding of HRT is still evolving as the medical community pieces together the findings of different studies and continues its research.
Knowledge about HRT’s impact on breast cancer risk is also developing. But still, there is great concern about women with a history of breast cancer taking HRT, because we know that hormones can fuel breast cancer growth. There are similar concerns about HRT for women who are at high risk of breast cancer because of a strong family history or a positive genetic test result.
What we do know is that the issue of HRT is complex and controversial. In making decisions about HRT, each woman has to work closely with her doctor to weigh the risks and potential benefits in her particular situation. The information we present here can get you started: