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August 1, 2005

UN Agency Confirms Pill, HRT Cancer Connection

Topics: Medicine

The period of disinformation about the safety of hormone replacement therapy is apparently over. HRT, and even the pill, when used for contraception, has increased cancer risks:

Daily News Central
Hormone replacement therapy used by millions of women around the world causes cancer, according to the UN's cancer agency. It also said Friday that the combined contraceptive pill, also used by millions, causes more types of cancers than previously thought.

(...) The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which collates existing oncology studies, declared that consistent evidence emerging from studies in the past few years has lead it to reclassify hormonal menopause therapy from "possibly carcinogenic to humans" to "carcinogenic to humans."

(...) The agency said studies have convincingly shown that doses of estrogen and progestogen in combination slightly increase the risk of breast cancer. And estrogen-only treatment, while posing less of a risk for breast cancer, can cause endometrial cancers.

(...) The report also concluded that the combined contraceptive pill causes more types of cancer than previously thought. Previously, the pill had been identified as causing liver cancer. Now, further research has demonstrated that it also slightly increases the risk of breast and cervical cancer, the agency said.


As to the disinformation about women taking the pill not being at an increased risk for certain cancers, that information certainly has been contradicted for several years. Take a look at this November 2003 fact sheet of the National Cancer Institute.

Other side effects of combined hormonal contraceptives include weight gain, breast tenderness, depression and a decreased interest in sex. Benefits include reduced risk of noncancerous breast cysts, infections of the fallopian tubes, iron deficiency anemia, and ectopic, or tubal, pregnancies. A lot more people die of cancer than noncancerous breast cysts, iron deficiency, or ectopic pregnancies, all which have alternative means of therapy. On the other hand, cancer can kill you dead!

Other negatives of hormonal contraceptive use include the problem that "Hormone Therapy May Just Delay Menopausal Symptoms," Symptoms Return When Hormone Therapy Ends, and Hormone Replacement Therapy Connected to Stroke Risk.

Posted by Hyscience at August 1, 2005 6:33 PM

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