A new study by a UW-Madison researcher contradicts some findings in a landmark study on the risks of hormone replacement therapy. The latest findings indicate less risk for cancer and memory loss with a lower dose of hormones used by younger women.
Women seeking to alleviate symptoms of menopause like hot flashes and night sweats can take replacement hormones. But a large study done 10 years ago, called the Women's Health Initiative, suggested those taking estrogen increased the risk of breast and other cancers. Some also experienced memory loss. A new, smaller study done by a researcher at UW Madison's School of Medicine and Public Health finds using a lower dose of hormone on women just starting menopause did not cause these symptoms. Dr. Sanjay Asthana is a professor of geriatrics and the lead researcher. He says the women in the study were relatively young, an average of 53 years old. They were tracked for four years. Observation will continue, "What are the effects if you follow these women 10 years down the road? In terms of memory, Alzheimer's, heart disease. I think that remains to be seen."
The American Cancer Society advises women to consult their doctor to weigh the benefits of hormone therapy against the risks.