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How warnings on hormone replacement therapy saved countless women's lives

How warnings on hormone replacement therapy saved countless women's lives
A patient and her doctor speak during a check-up. (Dan Dalton / Getty Images)

To the editor: Dr. Avrum Bluming and social psychologist Carol Tavris selectively ignore critical information in their op-ed article on hormone replacement therapy.

Prescriptions for menopause hormone replacement therapy (HRT) dropped by 50% immediately after women learned from the Women’s Health Initiative that HRT increases the risk of blood clots and stroke and fails to prevent heart disease, and that some forms of therapy increase the risk of breast cancer.

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Breast cancer rates dropped by 8% as result of women’s sensible decision to stop taking a drug that was more likely to cause health problems rather than prevent them. More than 240,000 women have avoided getting breast cancer because they did not take hormone therapy. Heart attack rates have also similarly dropped.

The current approach of using hormone therapy for symptom relief, not long-term prevention, has saved women’s lives.

Cynthia Pearson, Washington

The writer is executive director of the National Women’s Health Network.

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To the editor: Thank you for publishing the op-ed article on the benefits of HRT. It is important for American women to know the truth about it.

As a board-certified endocrinologist and a post-menopausal woman, I can attest to the benefits of HRT. In 30 years of practice, I have seen my patients age gracefully through menopause and beyond. They experience less osteoporosis, premature heart disease, dementia and genital-urinary problems.

What I have not seen is an increase in breast cancer in my patients who choose HRT compared with those who do not. Even though these are observational findings, they are important observations that have a significant impact on women’s quality of life.

With careful monitoring, women can indeed live longer and healthier lives with HRT.

Martha Gonzalez, M.D., Ventura

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