Ask Dr. Rosensweet: Does Hormone Therapy Have Risks?

If I get hormonal treatment aren’t I putting myself at increased risk for breast cancer, heart attack and stroke?

Dr. Rosensweet says, “Myth! Egregious myth! This false information exploded out in the world press from a mis-reported study, the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), in 2002. What got publicized was that there was increased risk of these 3 illnesses.”

Dr. Rosensweet adds, “What was actually in the report of the medical study, for example, was that women on Premarin alone (estrogens) had a reduced risk for breast cancer, and that even women on Prempro had a “statistically insignificant” increased risk. Medical science understands “statistically insignificant:” no conclusions can be drawn. The press, reporting on this study, missed this…and women and healthcare professionals all over the world became afraid of hormone treatment. 18 million American women on hormones in 2002, dropped to about 2 million after the WHI. The world became frightened of hormonal treatment.”

WHI Study

“Fast forward to 2017, when the original WHI study committee published in the original medical journal (JAMA):  “Among postmenopausal women, hormone therapy … was not associated with risk of all-cause, cardiovascular, or cancer mortality during a cumulative follow-up of 18 years.” Millions and millions of women and health care providers world wide were shocked by the original 2002 reporting: so very few are aware of the retraction,” says Dr. Rosensweet.

Are We all at Risk for Medical Diagnoses?

According to Dr. Rosensweet, “We are all at risk for thousands of medical diagnoses. We are all at risk for hundreds of cancers. Men are at special increased relative risk of prostate cancer, and there are reasons for this. Women are at special increased relative risk for breast cancer: again, there are reasons for this. Given that we are all at risk, the medical science is this:

  • Women who are treated with hormones are at less risk for breast cancer than women who are not treated
  • Women who have had breast cancer, and had that breast cancer properly treated, have a risk of recurrence that is greater than a woman getting breast cancer in the first place. However her risk of recurrence is reduced if she is treated with hormones than if she is not.”

(For additional information please see chapter 3 of Happy Healthy Hormones, or the entirety of the book Estrogen Matters by Avrum Bluming MD, an oncologist specializing in breast cancer, and Carol Tavris PhD.)

“That is the science: less risk if you are treated with hormones,” Dr. Rosensweet concludes.

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