1. Ten million women reportedly take hormones to relieve menopause symptoms.
2. More than five years of combination (progestin-estrogen) hormone therapy increased women’s risk of breast cancer by 26 percent, according to the National Institute of Health Women’s Health Initiative trial.
3. According to a study by IMS Health (a company that conducts research for the health care industry), HRT sales dropped by 38 percent in the month after researchers halted the Women’s Health Initiative study in July 2002.
4. Estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) increased breast cancer risk only in women who took estrogen for many years, but the risk increased 6 percent for every five years of use.
5. The Women’s Health Initiative ERT study is still under way.
Sources: IMS Health (http://secure.imshealth.com); Journal of the American Medical Association, 2002, vol. 288, no. 3; Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2000, vol. 92, no. 4.