Hormone therapy can make cancer more deadly: study

There’s more troubling news about hormone therapy for menopause symptoms: Lung cancer seems more likely to prove fatal in women who are taking estrogen-progestin pills, a study suggests.

ORLANDO, Fla. — There’s more troubling news about hormone therapy for menopause symptoms: Lung cancer seems more likely to prove fatal in women who are taking estrogen-progestin pills, a study suggests.

Hormone users who developed lung cancer were 60 per cent more likely to die from the disease as women who weren’t taking hormones, according to a study presented to an oncology society meeting in Florida.

The new findings mean that smokers should stop taking hormones, and those who have not yet started hormones should give it careful thought, said Dr. Rowan Chlebowski of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. He led the analysis and presented the study’s results.

It’s the latest finding from the Women’s Health Initiative, a federal study that gave 16,608 women either Prempro or dummy pills. The study was stopped in 2002 when researchers saw more breast cancers in those on Prempro, the estrogen-progestin pill made by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. They continue to follow what happens to women in the study.

The new analysis looked at non-small-cell lung cancer, by far the most common type. It found no big difference in the number of lung cancers that developed in hormone users after five years on the pills and more than two years of followup.

However lung cancer proved fatal in 46 per cent of hormone users who developed it versus 27 per cent of those given dummy pills.

“It’s another piece of evidence to suggest that hormone replacement therapy should be used with great caution,” said Dr. Richard Schilsky, a cancer specialist at the University of Chicago and president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Women who take hormones already are advised to use the lowest dose for the shortest time possible, doctors said.

Still, there have been only 106 lung cancer deaths in the study so far — too few to make sweeping conclusions about risk, said Dr. Len Lichtenfeld of the American Cancer Society.

And most women no longer use hormones the way they used to, said Wyeth’s Dr. Joseph Camardo. In the federal study, women started on them at an average age of 63 and took them for more than five years. Now, the typical age of starting is 51 to 54, and average use is two years, Camardo said. The same risks may not apply with the new patterns of use, he said.

Lung cancer is the world’s top cancer killer. In the United States, there were more than 215,000 new cases and nearly 162,000 deaths from it last year.

Just Posted

Red Deer mall repurposes former Sears location

The Great Indoors Market at Bower officially launches Nov. 10

Red Deer-area businesses prepare for economic boost from Canadian Finals Rodeo

Hotels, restaurants, gift shops get ready for rodeo fans

Sylvan Lake considering banning charcoal barbecues in lakefront parks

Town council wants more information on concerns about charcoal barbecues and over-sized tents

Winter Games relocates its Volunteer Centre

Now open at Bower Place in Red Deer

Drouin scores deciding goal as Canadiens hold off Flames in 3-2 win

MONTREAL — Flames goalie David Rittich did everything he could to keep… Continue reading

Coalition of consumer groups calls for new code of conduct for telecom sales

A new government-backed code of conduct is needed to protect consumers from… Continue reading

Canadian National Railway rakes in record revenues amid concerns over capacity

MONTREAL — Canadian National Railway Co. says it raked in the highest… Continue reading

Alberta Party candidates set for Red Deer

The Alberta Party will have candidates running in both Red Deer-South and… Continue reading

Montreal Alouettes defensive lineman Woody Baron co-authors children’s book

TORONTO — Woody Baron finds the spectre of tangling with a hulking… Continue reading

Sundin not surprised Leafs asking stars to take less money to stay together

TORONTO — Mats Sundin isn’t surprised the Toronto Maple Leafs are asking… Continue reading

Anywhere but Washington: Why DC stories rarely film in DC

WASHINGTON — It’s a hobby among District of Columbia locals: Picking apart… Continue reading

‘Halloween’ scares up $77.5 million in ticket sales

LOS ANGELES — Forty years after he first appeared in theatres, Michael… Continue reading

Most Read