Can HRT affect memory after diagnosis?


Question from Leanna: What if you took hormone replacement therapy before your diagnosis? Would that affect whether or not you had memory problems during breast cancer treatment?
Answers - Patricia A. Ganz, M.D. As far as I am aware there is no impact of prior hormonal replacement therapy on the post-treatment complaints. However, it is now known from the Women's Health Initiative hormone therapy trials that women who were randomly assigned to estrogen and progesterone or estrogen alone had a significant decline in memory functions compared to women who were given a placebo. It used to be thought that hormone replacement was good in terms of preventing Alzheimer's or memory loss, but that is not the case. So getting off hormones as a result of breast cancer may be beneficial.
Marisa Weiss, M.D. Whenever you make a change in your life, like going between medicines or stopping medicines, you're likely to feel a few bumps in the road. It gets back to my point that we as women do so many things at the same time and not only do people around us expect but we also expect from ourselves that all of our responsibilities will be balanced and done properly and on time, just like we used to. All these expectations can feel burdensome when you are dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis and all the treatments that may be involved. It is important to adjust your expectations when you are facing this big challenge in your life. Give yourself some wiggle room.

On Wednesday, August 16, 2006, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Thinking and Memory ChallengesPatricia A. Ganz, M.D. and  moderator Marisa Weiss, M.D. answered your questions about the memory and concentration challenges that can happen during and after breast cancer treatment.

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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