Hormone replacement therapy

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Danish study links hormone replacement therapy to ovarian cancer. Should you worry?

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

In the news today is a Danish study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), that indicates there may be an increased risk of ovarian cancer among users of hormone replacement therapy.

While this may sound like scary new information, it’s not actually news. Thirteen years ago, for my masters degree in public health, I wrote my final epidemiology paper on the link between hormone therapy and ovarian cancer.

Other studies link hormone replacement therapy, especially estrogen alone rather than estrogen plus progesterone, to breast cancer and endometrial cancer.

After reviewing the available information, you and your doctor may still decide that estrogen’s benefits outweigh any risk. Or you may want to try a different tactic to alleviate menopausal symptoms. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, other treatment options, including SSRIs and blood pressure medications, may work as well and cause fewer concerns.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH

Oprah and medical advice

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

Let me start by saying that I love Oprah. And I am forever grateful to her for having me on her show because appearing on Oprah helped me introduce my memoir, The Ditchdigger’s Daughters, to a huge audience. I’m sure it contributed to making my book a bestseller.

All that said, I have to agree with this Newsweek article. The authors argue that the medical advice given by some of the guests on The Oprah Winfrey Show is dubious at best, especially the claims about bio-identical hormones made by celebrities with no medical knowledge or training.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH