Advertisement

Can testosterone therapy increase a woman's risk of breast cancer?

Jan L. Shifren, MD
Reproductive Endocrinology
Testosterone is converted to estrogen in the blood, and some researchers and healthcare providers are concerned that the long-term risks of estrogen therapy will also be seen in women on testosterone therapy. In fact, a study published in Archives of Internal Medicine found that the risk of breast cancer was nearly 2.5 times greater in postmenopausal women who took hormone pills combining estrogen and testosterone than in those who didn't take the medications. The researchers also reported that the risk of breast cancer was greater with estrogen-testosterone therapy than with estrogen alone or estrogen combined with progesterone. A study in The New England Journal of Medicine of 814 women who used testosterone patches or a placebo for a year documented four cases of breast cancer among women using testosterone patches, but no cases in the placebo group -- a difference that could be due to chance but is worrisome nonetheless. Clearly, more study is needed to determine how testosterone might influence the risk of breast cancer.

Continue Learning about Endocrine System

When Hormone Replacement Therapy May Be Good
When Hormone Replacement Therapy May Be Good
Fear-mongering about hormone replacement therapy isn’t good science. For the right woman with nasty menopausal symptoms and the right man with low tes...
Read More
How can I find a good endocrinologist?
Dr. Jack Merendino, MDDr. Jack Merendino, MD
We welcome you to review the profiles of endocrinologists on Sharecare to see if any of them give an...
More Answers
Are follicular adenoma thyroid nodules serious?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Follicular adenoma thyroid nodules are benign, or not serious. They are treatable and often are undi...
More Answers
What Nutrients Are Important for a Healthy Thyroid?
What Nutrients Are Important for a Healthy Thyroid?

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.