Study- Hormones could raise risk of ovarian cancer

Thursday, October 2, 2003

CHICAGO -- Estrogen-progestin pills do not reduce the risk of ovarian cancer and might even increase it, according to a study that raises more red flags about a once widely accepted treatment for women going through menopause.

"It's more bad news" for hormones, said American Cancer Society epidemiologist Dr. Carmen Rodriguez.

The findings came from the federally funded Women's Health Initiative study, part of which was abruptly halted in 2002 because of evidence that estrogen-progestin pills raise the risk of breast cancer, heart attacks and strokes.

Previous findings on hormone pills and ovarian cancer have been inconsistent. But some doctors have theorized that combination pills would reduce the risk because they contain hormones similar to those in birth control pills, which have been shown to lower the odds.

The new analysis found that 32 of the 16,608 participants developed ovarian cancer during a 5 1/2-year period. There were 20 cases in women who took hormones and 12 in those on dummy pills. The analysis appears in today's Journal of the American Medical Association.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: