A fall in breast cancer rates among middle-aged women could be a result of a general drop in the numbers taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT), research suggests.
A study from Queen Mary College at the University of London, UK, found that half as many women aged 50 to 54 were prescribed HRT in 2006 than 2000 – a drop from 40% to 20%.
The research, published in the European Journal of Cancer, also recorded similar results for women aged 55 to 59, with the figure dropping from 35% to 15%.
Simultaneously, a fall in the number of breast cancer cases was recorded, with rates among women aged 50 to 59 falling 0.8% a year since 1999 to stand at an overall drop of about 5% by 2005.
Improved breast cancer screening methods have been blamed for a 24% increase observed among women in their sixties between 1999 and 2005.
HRT became less popular with women after research from the Women’s Health Initiative study in the US and the Million Women Study in the UK suggested that using it could increase the risk of breast cancer.
Copyright Press Association 2009