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      Hormone Therapy To Prevent Disease and Prolong Life in Postmenopausal Women

      Annals of Internal Medicine

      American College of Physicians

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          Abstract

          To critically review the risks and benefits of hormone therapy for asymptomatic postmenopausal women who are considering long-term hormone therapy to prevent disease or to prolong life. Review of the English-language literature since 1970 on the effect of estrogen therapy and estrogen plus progestin therapy on endometrial cancer, breast cancer, coronary heart disease, osteoporosis, and stroke. We used standard meta-analytic statistical methods to pool estimates from studies to determine summary relative risks for these diseases in hormone users and modified lifetable methods to estimate changes in lifetime probability and life expectancy due to use of hormone regimens. There is evidence that estrogen therapy decreases risk for coronary heart disease and for hip fracture, but long-term estrogen therapy increases risk for endometrial cancer and may be associated with a small increase in risk for breast cancer. The increase in endometrial cancer risk can probably be avoided by adding a progestin to the estrogen regimen for women who have a uterus, but the effects of combination hormones on risk for other diseases has not been adequately studied. We present estimates for changes in lifetime probabilities of disease and life expectancy due to hormone therapy in women who have had a hysterectomy; with coronary heart disease; and at increased risk for coronary heart disease, hip fracture, and breast cancer. Hormone therapy should probably be recommended for women who have had a hysterectomy and for those with coronary heart disease or at high risk for coronary heart disease. For other women, the best course of action is unclear.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Annals of Internal Medicine
          Ann Intern Med
          American College of Physicians
          0003-4819
          December 15 1992
          December 15 1992
          : 117
          : 12
          : 1016
          Article
          10.7326/0003-4819-117-12-1016
          1443971
          d5d881e3-31b5-44f9-9cf2-8e627b1f665c
          © 1992

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