Evidence fails to confirm that HRT use causes breast cancer in postmenopausal women, according to Fiorica. He explains that while 2.5 in every 100 women not on hormone therapy will likely develop breast cancer between ages 50 to 60, the number increases to only 3.1 per 100 women who are taking estrogen - an increase of less than one woman per 100.
Fiorica is participating in a symposium titled "New Perspectives in Menopausal Medicine," part of this week's European "HRT Summit: Scientific Update on Postmenopausal Health," held in conjunction with the Berlin menopause congress.
"Women need to know that lifestyle issues such as having a first child after age 30, starting your period early, and having a family history of benign breast disease are just as much risk factors for breast cancer as hormone use," Dr. Fiorica says. "Patients simply need to work with their health care provider to individualize and understand their personal risk factors for breast cancer and not make decisions based on advice of their friends or media reports."
Along with Fiorica, the symposium panel will include bone expert Robert Lindsay, M.D., of the Helen Hayes Hospital in New York, and heart expert Giuseppe Rosano, M.D., of San Raffaele Hospital in Rome, Italy. Lindsay recommends hormone therapy immediately after menopause because "addressing bone loss early and maintaining a high bone mass density (BMD) prevents osteoporosis, reduces the risk of fracture and prevents broken bones in the aging female population," he says. And while hormone therapy has not been shown to be effective in treating women with heart disease, Rosano points to recent positive studies that might suggest the potential of HRT to prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD) when begun early in menopause.
The symposium is to be moderated by Malcolm Whitehead, M.D., of King's College Hospital in London, England, and is sponsored by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. The 10th World Congress on the Menopause was organized in part by the International Menopause Society (IMS). Additional information on the summit can be found at www.menopause-berlin.de.
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