But the losers of the HRT
craze have been precisely those midlife women who were supposed to benefit from the health claims associated with HRT
There is some evidence that HRT
increases the risk of breast cancer, more so in women with a strong family history of the disease.
During this time, the primary end-point was seen in 53 women in the non-HRT
group (40 deaths, eight heart failures and five heart attacks) and 33 in the HRT
group (27 deaths, three heart failures and three heart attacks).
But they have not ruled out that HRT
may increase the risk of the disease.
Professor John Toy, Cancer Research UK's medical director, said: "This study clearly shows taking HRT
increases a woman's chance of getting ovarian cancer and her chances of dying from it.
The research was strongly challenged by Dr John Stevenson, an HRT
expert at the Royal Brompton Hospital, in London.
So how dangerous is HRT
, and should women really be worried?
Last year the study, involving almost 17,000 women over 50, said those taking HRT
for five years doubled the risk of life-threatening blood clots.
These findings do not rule out using HRT
to treat women who are older and either have osteoporosis or are at a high risk of developing the disease, she told this newspaper.
Earlier observational studies compared women who took HRT
with women who didn't.
Not only does HRT
not appear to prevent heart disease or stroke, one study these researchers reviewed concluded that estrogen replacement increased the risk of stroke in women (unless they were taking aspirin or statins).
But whether the Million Women Study will resolve the question of the role of HRT
in breast cancer is open for debate.
aims to restore levels of oestrogen to relieve the symptoms of menopause.
relieves hot flashes and reduces the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis.
Judith Reichman, 51, a gynecologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center who this month will host a two-part PBS TV series, ``More Straight Talk on Menopause & Women's Health,'' based on her book, ``I'm Too Young to Get Old,'' supports prescribing HRT
for most women.