Post-menopausal women who stopped hormone replacement therapy continued to run a higher risk of cancer than women administered a placebo, new research showed Wednesday.

But an increased risk of cardiovascular disease linked to the hormone treatments weakened after women stopped it, according to the research in the March 5 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Women who stopped taking estrogen plus progestin had a 24 percent greater chance of developping all forms of cancer than a control group of women treated with a placebo, over a three year period after treatment was stopped, it said.

A huge clinical trial of 16,608 postmenopausal women, investigating whether hormone replacement therapy helped protect them from heart disease and breast cancer, was abruptly halted in 2002 after data showed just the opposite.

In Wednesday's study Gerardo Heiss of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studied the health risks and benefits experienced by 15,730 trial participants after they stopped hormone therapy, from July 2002 to March 2005.

While the increased cardiovascular risks disappeared after a certain interval of time, researchers were surprised by the rise in the risk of cancer, especially lung cancer, among women who took the hormones for five years, Heiss said.

WASHINGTON, March 5, 2008 (AFP)


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