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Breast Tenderness Is Danger Sign for Women on HRT

Women who take hormone replacement therapy or HRT often complain that such medications may cause breast tenderness. Now a new analysis of data from the Women’s Health Initiative suggests that such a symptom might be cause for concern. Investigators from UCLA reviewed data from 16,000 women who participated in the NIH-sponsored study. Roughly 8,000 received placebo while the other half took estrogen plus synthetic progesterone. Women were monitored with mammograms and breast exams and questioned about symptoms such as breast tenderness.
Those on HRT were three times more likely to suffer pain or tenderness. And those who reported such symptoms were nearly 50 percent more likely to develop invasive breast cancer compared to women on hormones who did not complain of breast tenderness. The researchers could not explain why women who developed breast tenderness while taking hormones seemed more susceptible to breast cancer, but these preliminary findings might offer an intriguing way of identifying breast cancer vulnerability.
[Archives of Internal Medicine, October 12, 2009]

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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