It's been more than a year since a study linked hormone-replacement therapy to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease--and sent millions of women into a panic. Since then, the treatment has been implicated in breast cancer and stroke, too. But it still appeals to women desperate to escape menopausal symptoms. For them, we have one piece of advice: pick up copies of last week's Lancet and New England Journal of Medicine. Both journals add to the ever-mounting evidence that HRT has more risks than rewards. The NEJM study, based on the same data as last year's report, suggests that the risk of a heart attack rises 81 percent in the first year of use--and that's for all hormone users, not just women predisposed to cardiovascular disease. And The Lancet's study shows that progestin-estrogen therapy (like Prempro) tracks with an increased risk of breast cancer compared with the risk for women taking estrogen only. Estrogen therapy (like Premarin), by the way, is linked to uterine cancer. The conclusion: there's no way to get around the risks.
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