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Should women with a history of cancer take menopausal hormones?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

A woman who has had cancer should talk with her doctor about whether to take menopausal hormones. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for menopause is not recommended for women who had or currently have breast cancer or endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the uterus). One of the roles of the body’s normal estrogen hormone is to make the cells in the breast and uterus grow. Researchers have found that women with a history of breast cancer who take HRT had a high risk of recurrence (having the cancer come back).

There’s not a lot of data from research studies on whether taking HRT after having other forms of cancer causes a recurrence, though it’s thought that some forms of cancer are more affected by hormones. If you have a history of cancer and are interested in taking menopause hormones, talk to your doctor about whether it’s safe for you. 

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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.