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How can hormone replacement therapy affect my risk for colon cancer?

Hormone replacement therapy is sometimes prescribed by a person's doctor, for instance to help deal with symptoms of menopause, which is a time when female hormones may be at lower levels. Hormone replacement therapy was shown in a Women's Health Initiative study to be associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer.

Several large studies have looked at possible links between systemic hormone therapy in menopausal women and cancer. The Women's Health Initiative study looked at groups of women taking estrogen therapy (ET) or estrogen-progestin therapy (EPT). In the EPT part of the study, women who took EPT had a lower risk of getting colon cancer, but the cancers they got were more advanced than those in women not taking hormones. In the ET part of the study, ET did not seem to have any effect on the risk of colon cancer. So far, observational studies have not linked EPT or ET with a higher risk of colorectal cancer.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.