Females with a healthy weight suffer more with breast cancer whilst using HRT then overweight females

Women at a HEALTHY weight are more likely to get breast cancer when using HRT than overweight women

White and Hispanic women are at greater risk than black women are
Women with dense breasts are also more likely to develop breast cancer
Findings suggest that some women could take HRT without experiencing an increased risk of breast cancer

PUBLISHED: 21:07, 3 September 2013 | UPDATED: 21:07, 3 September 2013

Women who are a healthy weight are more likely to get breast cancer when using hormone replacement therapy, according to a new study.

Breast cancer has long been associated with the use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) during the menopause.

Scientists say this risk is increased among certain groups – including white women with a healthy body mass index (BMI).

Researchers at the University of Chicago analysed 1,642,824 mammograms, which included 9,300 breast cancer cases, from menopausal women.

Data on HRT use was analysed by ethnicity, age, BMI and breast density for the Journal of the National Cancer Institute study.

Results showed there was a 20 per cent increased risk of breast cancer associated with HRT use among white and Hispanic women, but not black women.

HRT use was more strongly associated with breast cancer risk in women with low or normal BMI, but no link was found among those with a high BMI.

Women with denser breasts also had an increased chance of breast cancer while using HRT.

The researchers found a significant relationship between breast density and HRT independent of BMI.

HRT use was not associated with breast cancer for women with high BMI and low breast density, whereas HRT use was associated with a significantly higher risk of disease for women with low or normal BMI and high breast density.

The researchers say the results show HRT may be used for some women without increasing breast cancer risk.

Lead author Dr Ningqui Hou said: ‘Black women, obese women, and women with breast tissue composed largely of fat may benefit from HRT use with minimal excess breast cancer risk.

‘Further studies to confirm these findings and provide more information on other modifiable risk factors for breast cancer in relation to HRT use are needed.’

Dr Mary Beth Terry, from the Department of Epidemiology and the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Centre at Columbia University, said: ‘Ultimately, efforts that improve risk stratification, whether made through improved risk models or through measuring valid intermediate biomarkers such as breast density, will inform appropriate use of not only HRT, but also other medications, including chemopreventive drugs.’

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