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A Journal on Obstetrics and Gynecology

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Minerva Ginecologica 2012 June;64(3):223-30

language: English

Hormones therapy for management of menopausal symptoms: understanding breast cancer risk

Files J. A. 1, Allen S. V. 2, Pruthi S. 3

1 Medallion Program, General Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, AZ, USA;
2 Department of Family Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA;
3 Division of General Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA


Since the publication of the Women’s Health Initiative, women seeking relief from menopausal symptoms often express concerns about the risk of hormone therapy (HT). In women at increased risk for breast cancer or with a personal history of breast cancer, the decision to use HT for the treatment of menopausal symptoms must be carefully considered in the context of the most recent literature. It is well established that HT is the most effective treatment for climacteric symptoms and sexual dysfunction. The evidence to date on the use of HT in women with a history of breast cancer is complicated by the fact that the majority of breast cancers are estrogen responsive and the concern about risk of recurrence. Over the past decade, survival after breast cancer treatment has continued to improve resulting in millions of survivors worldwide. As a result of breast cancer therapies, the prevalence of menopausal symptoms is increasing in survivors, and both clinicians and patients are seeking safe and effective therapies for symptom management. This article will review the role of HT in the treatment of menopausal symptoms in women without breast cancer and those with a personal history of breast cancer or those who are at increased risk of breast cancer. Management of menopause-related symptoms will be reviewed with a focus on strategies to improve quality of life.

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