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Oxford University: delayed HRT means less risk for breast cancer

A new Oxford University study has shown that women who begin hormone replacement therapy (HRT) several years after menopause are at a lower risk for breast cancer than those who begin HRT earlier.

Previous research had linked HRT to increased breast cancer risk, but few studies had looked at the timing of therapy in relation to it.

The new findings, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, found that women who began HRT five or more years after menopause had little or no increased risk of breast cancer, while those who began before or soon after menopause had a 43 percent higher risk.

1.3 million participants were involved as part of the Million Women Study in the United Kingdom.

According to Dr. Valerie Beral of Oxford, "[The] pattern of risk was seen across different types of hormonal therapy, among women who used hormonal therapy for either short [or] long durations, and also in lean and in overweight and obese women."

However, while the increased risk is attributed to earlier HRT use, Reuters reports that overall breast cancer risks remain low for women using HRT, regardless of timing - less than 1 percent each year.
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