Do you take HRT?

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Following more than a decade of controversy, today we wake up to the news that hormone replacement therapy can triple the risk of breast cancer, and this has been revealed after the biggest ever study to date.

Last year we discussed that the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (Nice) changed guidance to encourage more doctors to prescribe HRT claiming too many menopausal women had been left suffering in silence, and you shared your views in our Speakers Corner.

HRT is used to treat uncomfortable symptoms of the menopause – such as hot flushes, migraines, disrupted sleep, mood changes and depression – by topping up the decreased levels of hormones produced by the body.

But doctors were reluctant to prescribe it after a study in 2002 suggested it could raise the risk of cancer, a claim later widely disputed. Now new findings by the Institute of Cancer Research and Breast Cancer Now suggest the original risk had actually been underestimated.

A study of 100,000 women over 40 years found those who took the combined oestrogen and progestogen pill for around five years were 2.7 times more likely to develop cancer compared to women who took nothing, or only the oestrogen pill.

HRT was first developed in the 1940s and was first made available to women in Britain in 1965.

However in 2002 the British Millennium Women Study published findings claiming that HRT raised the risk of cancer. Many doctors immediately withdrew prescriptions while the Medical Healthcare and Regulatory Agency (MHRA) issued new guidance recommending all women be given the “lowest effective dose should be used for the shortest time.”

So how does this latest news make you feel?  Do you take HRT? Do you know anyone who has taken HRT and developed breast cancer? With advice changing on a regular basis what influences your personal choice?

Do you take HRT?

543 people have already voted, what's your opinion? Yes No

What are your views?

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Winward1
28th Oct 2016
0
Thanks for voting!
My doctor took me off HRT, so now I take sage, it helps me greatly . . .
londontown
16th Oct 2016
0
Thanks for voting!
I've had almost no menopause symptoms. In fact, I feel great - no more PMS every month. So, I don't need HRT. However, research also shows that women who don't take HRT tend to have thinning of bones (& thinning of hair), which I'm not looking forward to, but at least it's not cancer.
marjorie
1st Oct 2016
0
Thanks for voting!
I and my friend have been taking HRT for more than 20 years after trying every natural method. I have patches and my friend take tablets. We always check our breasts for lumps, and have regular mammograms.
Remember this though we don't drink nor smoke.
I tried coming of HRT but hot flushes came back with vengence.
MrsPat
12th Sep 2016
2
Thanks for voting!
I would never use it
stellarorbit
10th Sep 2016
2
Thanks for voting!
After a lot of research, I decided not to take HRT but to try to moderate the symptoms through diet, supplements and exercise. Although I couldn't seem to reduce the night sweats, the other 'expected' symptoms were minimal. I won't pretend I embraced it though and was so glad when it was over.
Javea
2nd Sep 2016
3
Thanks for voting!
I had a hysterectomy at 38 and was given Premarin tablet a low dose oestrogen only , I actually took this for 20 years and would still be taking it today if I could, my skin was never better and never had any aches or pains at all. As soon as I was taken off it all started and as I say I would gladly take it again today.
Jo Kingham
1st Sep 2016
3
Thanks for voting!
HRT should be banned - it's been known for some time that it causes cancer, it's a fact and everyday more research backs it up.
I know handling the symptons of the menopause can be difficult but it's nothing like handling the treatment of cancer.
BrumEJ43
9th Oct 2016
0
Thanks for voting!
Hi Jo
Totally agree with you. Quite frankly I had so much to deal with other than the menopause I really didn't think about the symptoms, - too much is made of the menopause, - but not enough is made of the fact - how many women who have had breast cancer have taken HRT? - there never seems to be any proper data on this. Breast cancer is in my family, - so HRT was a complete no no for me, and I never ever thought of taking it in any case.
Bakewell
27th Aug 2016
2
Thanks for voting!
I'm just trying to get through the menopause the best way i can its the burning in the night that's hardest but I'm just living in hope it doesn't last years I'm not going to take HRT I'm not into taking pills but then again everyone as there own approach to this awful time in your life i thought i mite have dodged it as i never had children but know its so crazy what your own body does to you but any ideas I'm Listening.
jentie51
26th Aug 2016
2
Thanks for voting!
Maybe I was fortunate not to experience too many unpleasant symptoms whilst going through the change or maybe it was the homeopathic treatment I chose that enabled me to sail through the menopause.

At the time, homeopathy was available locally on the NHS & I decided to follow this path this rather than take hormones. The homeopathic consultant, also a qualified GP, gave helpful dietary & lifestyle advice, so for me, that was the way to do go.

Sadly, homeopathy is no longer NHS funded in this area as it is felt to be an unproven therapy. In my experience, if the prescribed remedy isn't the right one, it will not cause harm & an alternative can be prescribed instead.

But, despite my lifestyle (I don't drink alcohol or smoke) & treatment choices, I was diagnosed with breast cancer anyway, so perhaps it's just something that can happen whatever you do in life & perhaps it's a risk worth taking for someone experiencing unpleasant symptoms?

For the record, the cancer was successfully treated by both homeopathic medicine (which I had to pay for) & conventional medicine, so my feeling is that all available options are worthy of consideration.
Wens1948
24th Aug 2016
1
Thanks for voting!
I had a hysterectomy at 48 and have been taking oestrogen only hormone replacement therapy for 20 years. Each time there is a scare (usually with the combined progesterone/oestrogen hrt) I have chosen to continue with mine despite the apparent risks. I am happy, healthy and now 68 years old with no family history of breast cancer/stroke. I am happy to stay on it for as long as my doctor will allow. In Spain they sell it over the counter in the pharmacy with no prescription required.
Joan Fraser
24th Aug 2016
1
Thanks for voting!
I did take HRT after a radical hysterectomy 20 years ago when I was in early 40's; however I came off it in 2002 and often wonder if I did the right thing. I seem to have had a re-introduction of many of the menopause symptoms.......
carmel Hanna
24th Aug 2016
1
Thanks for voting!
I have been on HRT for 23yrs due to me having a hysterectomy and my ovaries removed when l was 38. I was on the oestrogen only pill and never had any problems since. When l was 60 my doctor insisted l came of it due to the risks. I very relugantly agreed and after went through a terrible time. I had hot flushes mood swings lost interest in sex dried up completly. I took urine infections due to drying up below. My doctor tried me with varies other alternatives to no avail. I then insisted l went back on HRT so she changed me from my original 1.25 mgs to 0.3 mgs. It took a while but l an now feeling good again. I no the risks and have checks regurally. I work full time as a carer of special needs and love my job although l feel l should have been able to be given the choice to retire at 60 instead of having to wait to 66 but thats anothet story for another day.
Kazzaj
23rd Aug 2016
4
Thanks for voting!
I haven't needed to take hrt but my mum did for a number of years untill the one she was taking was banned after a time! Like some contraceptive pills that were on the market once and then banned after a few years! Unfortunately the damage is done by then and my mum did develop breast cancer but luckily is still here to tell the tale! The thing is we trust the doctors to give us safe medicine but you never know really if it's safe!
Kazzap
23rd Aug 2016
1
Thanks for voting!
I have patches which i have at times tried to stop but end up feeling wretched so think it is worth the risk
puggled
23rd Aug 2016
4
Thanks for voting!
I d also like to suggest that people carefully read the new NICE guidelines isdued this year which radically changed the perceptions on HRT.
And remember there are multiple types and applications. It is not a one size for all.
puggled
23rd Aug 2016
1
Thanks for voting!
Iv e been on estrogen patches since a surgical menopause at age 42. I m now 65, my only problems have been a lack of knowledge on the part of GPs and a reluctance on their part to be well informed about this particular situation.
It has been calculated recently that thousands of women died prematurely from conditions caused by estrogen depletion when they were s scared into stopping or refusing estrogen in situations similar to mine.
I feel (and I am told look) very well. I have tried a few times to reduce at GP s insistence....I feel wretched...not myself at all. I have recovered well from a difficult pelvic repair. At the moment I have a supportive gynecologist, thank goodness.
Unless someone diagnoses me with a condition which seriously contraindicates my patches......I ve no intention of stopping sticking☺
stuarty61
23rd Aug 2016
3
Thanks for voting!
Since the very early and sudden onset on the menopause at 46 I have taken HRT. I am now in my 18th year and fully discuss the situation each year with my GP. My principal reason was a huge risk of osteoporosis with my mother, sister and aunt all being debilitated by it. As we do not, thankfully, have a history of breast cancer in our family the risks of that balanced against the osteoporosis benefits enabled me to decide that I wished to continue taking it. Everyone needs to be informed fully and not necessarily by headline grabbing buzz statements. Even although my own experience has been and hopefully will continue to be positive I do not encourage friends or family either way but to be come informed, balance decisions and make their own choices. Lastly if I were to develop breast cancer and there was a direct link I wouldn't blame anyone nor anything. We all make choices. We all die. HRT has brought many positive benefits to me including the ability to still undertake many activities denied yo other family members. Like Chrissy below I hope I am allowed to continue for the rest of my life.
nanny mary
23rd Aug 2016
1
Thanks for voting!
I took hrt many years ago to help with my periods, I was pre-menopausal, aged 48, I then found a lump in my breast about five months later, did the hrt cause me to have breast cancer or did taking hrt cause the lump to become noticeable and potentially save my life, I don't know but I was told not to take it again
Old hippy
23rd Aug 2016
1
Thanks for voting!
I've been having oestrogen and testosterone implants since I had a full hysterectomy about 6yrs ago,and I feel the good out weigh the bad for me,I have regular mammograms and also examine my boobs , i had dry skin,hair loss,mood swings and loss of libido, all those have improved with the implants, I'm 67yrs and have plenty of energy to chase after my grandchildren
Chrissie_forever
23rd Aug 2016
1
Thanks for voting!
Have taken HRT for several years and intend to keep taking it for the rest of my life. I feel it has really helped me 'stay young' and would be very upset if I could not continue to use it. There is no history of breast cancer in my family. I would be happy to be part of any research into long term use of HRT ( have told my GP this).
millimenopause
23rd Aug 2016
2
Thanks for voting!
I had previously been on HRT in gel form for 5 years. My GP advised after the 5 years that perhaps it was better to come off it, as my mother had breast cancer and had a partial mastectomy for it several years ago. I have 2 yearly very through mammograms here in France. The guy I see his top of his field apparently, you get the mammogram, a hands on check and the results are discussed with you there and then. As a back up, the results are then sent off to Paris to be secondary checked. I get a packet back within about 3 weeks with all the xrays, results and conclusion report. I asked my GP if I could go back on the gel recently, after an 18 month rest, because I think that I am better on it, less hot flushes, fewer mood swings and generally feel better. I know the risks (I was a nurse in the UK), I have read all kinds of reports both for and against and I have concluded that its worth the risk. I am equally at risk of cancer by standing at the side of my vehicle filling it up with diesel or petrol or living near a telephone mask, as I do. I am regularly checked by the medical professionals here, I check myself so I am quite happy to continue to take it. I guess when my time is up its up and no amount of worrying about that time will change anything. So as they say here in France c'est la vie
lyndyloo45
23rd Aug 2016
1
Thanks for voting!
Thank you for your comment, it has made me feel much better about taking HRT xx
jeanmark
23rd Aug 2016
1
Thanks for voting!
Like a few other women I had to take HRT because of having a hysterectomy and bilateral oophorectomy when I was 27. The risk of developing osteoporosis far outweighed the risk of hormone induced breast cancer at that age. But like Lynn, it was oestrogen only, not combined progesterone as there was no need to have combined after the surgery. I stopped taking it when I was 63 with no ill effects. From a 'change' perspective I think it is a matter of weighing up the risks and benefits and there are now very good menopause clinics to help those unable to take HRT. I don't think it should just be dismissed as unsafe, just being extra cautious with its use. Many women have benefitted without problems just as many women have developed beast cancer even when they haven't taken HRT. It is difficult when there is conflicting advise but thats the problem with research, what appeared good once is then considered bad and then returns to good! I would always take advice from those who are experts in menopausal issues and this may not be a GP.
Melimited
23rd Aug 2016
0
Thanks for voting!
I take it mostly because I have a heart condition and my body temperature can soar. It also has allowed me to enjoy my fiance and him me continuously. However I changed from the oral to the external type due to the risk of cancer 2 years ago. It is a little more inconvenient but I discreetly use it as prescribed but in the morning and it lasts until later.
lyndyloo45
23rd Aug 2016
0
Thanks for voting!
I really don't know what to think. I have just started HRT after trying many herbal remedies,as my symptoms have been unbearable making both my home life and work life miserable.I am worried about the effect of the medication but I really don't know what else to do. The
rudgy
23rd Aug 2016
2
Thanks for voting!
I used the HRT patches for 5 years ,then had breast cancer which was hormone related .After treatment I took Tomoxifen for 5 years .I would not recommend HRT to any of my family .
There is good and bad bit I think the bad out ways the good .Thats just my personal opinion.
sukiesue
23rd Aug 2016
2
Thanks for voting!
I started the menopause when I was 41 and was offered HRT. I felt so much better over the next 10 years but then I was diagonised with breast cancer. I have since had a double mastectomy and two chemotherapy courses. I am 62 now and still get side affects from the menopause and the chemotherapy. In hindsight I wish I had weighed up the good and the bads of HRT.
1
Thanks for voting!
Sorry to hear that sukiesue 🙁
Alicia
23rd Aug 2016
2
Thanks for voting!
No, I did not need it. Anyway the dangers outweigh the benefits.
millimenopause
23rd Aug 2016
0
Thanks for voting!
That really depends on what studies or reports you have read. I have not read anything yet that has convinced me that I am in more danger than being hit by a car when crossing the road.
Marley444
23rd Aug 2016
3
Thanks for voting!
A really good friend of mine took HRT in her early years of menopause, and in the last 18 months has had breast cancer. She is over her treatment now, but she is convinced it was the HRT that triggered her cancer. How can we ever trust what we are told when the advice can change from year to year?? Personally I would definitely not use HRT, but then my symptoms of menopause haven't been too bad yet.

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