A new analysis of a study done by the Women's Health Institute on estrogen-only hormone treatment for women who've had a hysterectomy was presented last week by Dr. Joseph Ragaz, an oncologist at the University of British Columbia, at the annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Dr. Ragaz claims that the estrogen-only hormone therapy does not increase the risk of breast cancer, and may, in fact, prevent it.
In the study, patients in a placebo group were diagnosed with breast cancer at a rate of 34 out of 10,000, compared to the estrogen-only group which showed 28 positive diagnoses out of 10,000. However, the study also showed that women on the estrogen-only treatment had 50% more abnormal mammogram results, and had to undergo 33% more biopsies than women in the placebo group.
Dr. Ragaz's analysis contradicts the Woman's Health Institute's original conclusion, and, as you can imagine, is being met with some conflict from oncologists and researchers around the globe. All parties admit that more research is necessary.
Hmm ... Life-threatening disease that may result in a mastectomy vs. more frequent mammograms and invasive testing? For this reporter, that decision's a tough one.