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Saturday, 30 July 2005 11:50
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
UN body says HRT causes cancer
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), has concluded that hormone replacement therapy (HRT), taken by millions of women around the world, causes cancer.

The scientists have also warned that the combined contraceptive pill slightly increased the risk of a greater number of cancers than originally thought.

A group of 21 scientists from the International Agency for Research on Cancer looked into published evidence on both drugs before coming to their conclusions.

On combined estrogen-progestogen HRT, they said studies had demonstrated an increased risk of breast cancer. The risk exceeded with duration of use.

And they said use of the combined estrogen-progestogen contraceptive pill slightly increased the risk of breast, cervix and liver cancer.

Dr Peter Boyle, director of IARC, said: "[This report] address exposures that are experienced daily by many millions of women worldwide. It is of enormous public health importance that we identify and understand the full range of effects of these products".

Agency official Vincent Cogliano said: "It's a complicated picture. It doesn't mean women should stop taking the treatment. There are still other reasons to take it.

"Each woman has to discuss it with her doctor and with the risks and benefits".

Dr Anne Szarewski, clinical consultant for Cancer Research UK, said: "We are unaware of any studies that have shown that the contraceptive pill causes breast or cervical cancer.

"Studies have only shown that there is an association.

"Regarding HRT, this statement does not add anything to the information that has already been published in recent studies."

UK drugs regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, said the warnings added nothing to what was already known.


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