50,000 unnecessary breast cancer deaths from study

A far reaching 2002 study failed to take pertinent information into account resulting in avoidable, premature deaths. Photo: Images of diseased breast

WASHINGTON, July 19, 2013 –A 2002 Women’s Health Initiative study that suggested a combination of estrogen-progesterone treatments could increase a women’s risk for cancer and other health issues. 

The study failed to take into account women who had their uterus removed would greatly benefit from such therapy resulting in the shortened lives of upwards of 50,000 women to date and the numbers are rising.

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The 2002 study resulted in a drastic drop in hormone therapy thus putting women who would have greatly benefitted from therapy in harm’s way.

In a study published by the American Journal of Public Health coupled with comments from Yale University review author Dr. Phillip Sarrel, the report emphasizes the benefit’s would apply to women who have undergone a hysterectomy and experiencing menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes.

Trials subsequent to the 2002 study found that the benefits for women who took estrogen-only therapy after a hysterectomy as compared to those given a placebo, could reduce 13 deaths per 10,000 women per year among the population that qualifies.

During the 10 year period from the 2002 study and 2012, it is estimated between 19,000 and 91,000 deaths were the result of the precipitous drop of estrogen only therapy for those in the 50-59 years old age group. The drop in estrogen therapy is recorded at about 79 percent.

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The resulting deaths were from breast cancer and heart disease with breast cancer being by far the more prevalent.

Screening for breast cancer from your 20’s on should be perfumed by your primary care physician every one to three years. As you enter your 40’s, a mammogram should be performed every year and after age 50, every other year.

Examinations for cervical cancer via pap smear should start at age 21 and continue every two years thereafter.

In light of the prevalence of the Human papillomavirus (HPV) as a potential cause of cervical cancer, after the age of 30, it is advised to get an HPV test.

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Since HPV is considered a sexually transmitted disease, women under the age of 25 should have the two available HPV vaccines but should not discontinue pap smears on schedule because the vaccines do not protect from all forms of HPV viruses.

Since heart disease has a significant role in the recent findings, women should get a fasting blood test for cholesterol levels every five years after the age of 20 and regularly checked blood pressure.

The recent findings indicate if you have had a hysterectomy, make an appointment with your primary care physician to discuss starting or resuming hormone therapy.

It could prolong or save your life.

Paul Mountjoy is a Virginia based writer and a member of the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science.


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