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Hormone Therapy Later in Life Less Risky

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Though a number of earlier studies had concluded that hormone therapy increases breast cancer risk, the researchers wanted to know whether the timing of the therapy influences that risk, something they said few studies had examined.

To do that, they analyzed data from 1.13 million participants in the Million Women Study in the United Kingdom, concluding that the length of time between menopause and starting hormone therapy has a "substantial" effect on breast cancer risk.

Compared with women who began hormone therapy before or soon after menopause, those who started hormone therapy five years or more after menopause had little or no increased breast cancer risk, the study found. The difference in breast cancer risk was evident regardless of the type of hormone therapy, how long women used the hormone therapy and whether women were normal weight, overweight or obese.

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