A NEW cancer link to hormone replacement therapy was disclosed yesterday, a week after scientists said they halted a major HRT study because of the risks.
Research involving more than 44,000 women found those who used oestrogenonly HRT were 60pc more likely to develop ovarian cancer than those who never had hormone replacement.
Women who used oestrogen-only therapy for 20 years or more had a three-fold increased risk of the disease.
However, the likelihood of an individual getting ovarian cancer was very small. Among the 44,241 women taking part, a total of 329 developed the disease and only 16 cancers occurred in the group using HRT for more than 20 years.
HRT normally consists of two female hormones, oestrogen and progesterone. This is because progesterone, normally used in its synthetic form, progestogen, protects against cancer of the womb lining - a known hazard linked to oestrogen-only treatment.
But many women who have had hysterectomies are given oestrogen-only HRT.
The increased ovarian cancer risk, detected by researchers in the United States, was seen among women with and without wombs.
Women taking part in the study had all previously enrolled in the Breast Cancer Detection Demonstration Project (BCDDP), a mammography screening programme conducted between 1973 and 1980.
Dr James Lacey and colleagues from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, Maryland, questioned the women about HRT and ovarian cancer between 1979 and 1998 and checked their medical records. …