Many studies published in the recent past have argued about the implications of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) on women who use them to manage menopausal symptoms. A new study, however, has gone further to show that women who are on HRT add to the risk of developing breast cancer if they consumed alcoholic beverages.
The study polled more than 44,000 women on their alcohol consumption pattern and on whether they were on HRT currently or had been previously. The researchers kept track of the women for 16 years and noted those who developed breast cancer during that time.
Researchers found that the use of hormone replacement therapy for longer than 5 years and intake of about one drink per day boosted the risk of breast cancer. The combination of these two factors, though, further compounded the risk. Comparing women who drank at least one alcoholic beverage per day, those who used HRT for more than 5 years were nearly twice as likely than non-HRT users to develop breast cancer.
Scientists, who have long since established the risk of women who consume alcohol, for breast cancer, claim that the possible reason for such an effect could be due to a steady supply of alcohol interfering with DNA repair within cells. It could also be due to the liver losing its capability of ridding the body of carcinogens. However, of even more concern is its effect on estrogen levels - several studies have shown that steady alcohol intake raises a woman's estrogen level, which is an issue for hormone-dependent cancers like breast cancer.
The authors who concluded that a woman's lifetime risk of developing breast cancer - estimated to be about 4% - doubles to about 8% with the concurrent use of HRT and more than one alcoholic beverage per day, also acknowledged that light to moderate alcohol intake appears to reduce the risk of heart disease. Now, women and their doctors are the ones to decide if a daily drink is a health benefit or a health liability!