Surprising Benefits of Hormone Replacement: It Reduces the Risk of Many Cancers!
The tables have turned on hormone replacement therapy HRT. While it was thought to increase the risk of heart disease and cancer, it was found that the sooner you start it the better and the risk of breast cancer is minimal. HRT has now been found to have surprising benefits of decreasing the risk of many other cancers! Here are the results of some recent studies.
Gastric cancer was the sixth commonly diagnosed cancer globally, responsible for 768,793 cancer deaths in 2020. A meta-analysis of 11 observational studies showed that the use of HRT was associated with a lower risk of gastric cancer regardless of HRT formulation. HRT use was associated with a 28% reduction in risk of gastric cancer compared with those who had no HRT exposure. Estrogen-only therapy was associated with a 37% reduction in gastric cancer incidence and combined estrogen-progestin therapy reduced gastric cancer risk by 30%.
The hypothesis of why this reduction occurs is that there are estrogen receptors-beta in gastric adenocarcinoma and estrogen in HRT binding to these receptors could inhibit cancer cell growth and induce death of cancer cells. Loss of these receptors was associated with poor gastric cancer survival.
Men are more often afflicted with cancer of the esophagus, and it is postulated that estrogens may be protective for this type of cancer. In a meta-analysis, HRT and oral contraceptives modified the risk to develop esophageal adenocarcinoma. Hormone replacement therapy users had significantly decreased risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma by 25%, and the same trend was observed with oral contraceptives. This meta-analysis was limited by the low number of studies, and there were insufficient data to allow subgroup analysis of duration, type or dosage of HRT and OC use or adjust for potential confounding. So far this is an observation but promising.
Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Accumulating evidence shows that HRT use in menopause may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer in women. A meta-analysis of 18 epidemiologic studies of women who used HRT after menopause showed a 20% decreased risk of colon cancer and a 19% decreased risk of rectal cancer compared with women who never used hormones.
A total of 22 studies comprising 911,194 participants and 17,329 patients found that women wo used HRT had a statistically decreased risk of lung cancer compared to women who never used HRT. Similar results were found among the postmenopausal women with current HRT use. Researchers concluded current or ever HRT use is partly correlated with the decreased incidence of lung cancer in women.
Epithelial Ovarian Cancer
It was thought that women with ovarian cancer were prohibited from using HRT due to a possible increased risk of recurrence. While small, three available studies demonstrated that postoperative HRT use was not associated with an increased risk of recurrence in survivors of epithelial ovarian cancer making HRT a viable alternative to improve the quality of life in women after removing ovaries.
As you can see there may be some hidden benefits of Hormone Replacement Therapy. We have come a long way. So, if you are suffering and having a poor quality of life from hormonal symptoms, apply for a free, no obligation clarity call to see if we are a good fit and if HRT is right for you.