Pills containing estrogen and progestin have been given to provide women protection against heart disease, as well as respite from hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. Several studies now indicate no heart benefit and increased risks of circulatory disorders and breast and ovarian cancer, several studies indicate.
Scientists who analyzed data on 16,608 postmenopausal women in a nationwide study report in the July 17 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that women taking the dual-hormone therapy for 5 years had 26 percent more cases of breast cancer than women receiving an inert pill did. Moreover, compared with the placebo, the hormones doubled the incidence of blood clots, hiked stroke incidence by 41 percent, and upped the occurrence of heart disease by 29 percent.
Although women taking hormones were less likely to get colorectal cancer or to break a hip than were women on the inert pill, the positives of so-called hormone-repla