New Findings on Hormone Therapy

This letter appeared in USA Today on July 23, 2007.

USA Today's list of top twenty-five medical events of the past quarter-century included one that is overstated and unduly alarmist ("Big dose of medical change," Money, July 16).

Number 16, about hormone therapy, says that a "landmark government study in 2002 found that Prempro, the top selling brand of estrogen plus progestin, raises the risk of breast cancer, heart attacks, stroke, and blood clots." While it's true that the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) study, prematurely terminated in 2002, was originally interpreted to show that hormone replacement increased risks of several serious diseases, recent reassessments have shown otherwise.

Studies published over the past eighteen months reviewing the WHI data have proved that younger women taking estrogen have a lower risk of breast cancer than those who aren't on any treatment and a lower rate of coronary heart disease. The earlier statements were actually applicable only to long-term treatment in older women.

Gilbert L. Ross, M.D.
Medical Director
The American Council on Science and Health