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Decline in USA OC rates tracks with decreased use of HRT

From todays Practice Update here in full for those who are registered

or in brief:

Decline in Ovarian Cancer Incidence Associated With Decreased Use of Menopausal Hormone Therapy

An analysis of the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries database between 1995 and 2008 reported a decline in the age-standardized incidence rate of ovarian cancer from 38/100,000 in 1995 to 30/100,000 in 2008. A greater rate of decline was noted after 2002 when the use of hormone replacement therapy decreased.


Correlations between increased prevalence of hormone use and incidence of ovarian cancer provided evidence suggesting a causative relationship. Menopausal hormonal therapy (MHT) with estrogen only or combined estrogen plus progestin was associated with increased risk of ovarian cancer. A substantial decline in use of MHT with combined estrogen and progestin was associated with a decrease in breast cancer rates. This study evaluated trends in ovarian cancer incidence before and after results were reported from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) that showed adverse health effects with combined estrogen plus progestin MHT.

Data for this analysis were obtained from the Cancer Incidence in North America (CINA) Analytic File for Expanded Races of the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR). Out of 240,912 ovarian tumors in the analytic file, 211,534 carcinomas were included in this analysis. Of the 192,075 ovarian cancers in women aged = 50 years, 171,142 were carcinomas. Population counts were based on the 2000 US census. Trends in incidence were evaluated using joinpoint regression analysis and age-period-cohort models that adjusted for age and birth cohort.

15 Replies

Hi Sue,

Thanks for the link and info, I have never been on HRT so it counts me out.

Love x G x


Well I'm not surprised. I had been on HRT for nearly 20 yrs as I had my menopause in my 20's- standard treatment for an early menopause. I do blame it and stress for my cancer. I saw the geneticist and he thought I was less likely not more likely to get it because I had been on HRT. I thought tosh and told him so. Thanks for post , interesting ,although I can't change what has been !


Me neither they would not give it to me not that I had any problems going through the change. It only lasted about 6 months.

Love Babs x x


I also have never been on the pill or taken hrt.


You beat me to it, PRchick!

Not that it could have been a causative influence in my case, as I never used HRT. It is important to note that the article is talking about HRT, not about the use of birth control pills, which is actually linked to a lower than average risk of ovarian cancer.

For those who wish to read the whole article, you will need to register to do so, but registering is quick, easy and free.



Thanks for the info. Mind you, I'm counted out on both scores, I was on the pill, but at only 42 when diagnosed, never took HRT. However, my Mum was on HRT, and she had a lump removed from her breast that was considered pre cancerous and she has always blaimed it on the HRT. As her brother has prostate cancer, I qualified for the gene testing(no mutations found) so this seems to supported by the research.



Yes I did take HRT for 10 years as I had a lot of problems during the menopause so I probably think that contributed a lot to my ovarian cancer to be fair I was warned by my Doctor to stop taking it after 5 years but carried on thinking i would be ok and it made me feel normal.So now paying the price. I think on balance I would still have taken it, due to how I felt at the time.Love and hugs to all Jenny xxx


You absolutely cannot think that Jenny. We are not at fault no matter which way we look at it. I have the same feelings about stress.... Have to keep pushing that away. Similarly, i kind of knew stress wasn't good for me but... did not cause my OC. Nor did you!


I also took HRT for six years because of early menopause. Menopause ***** but it's a lot, lot better than OC.

Interestingly, ovarian cancer isn't usually cited as one of the risks of prolonged HRT. Perhaps we should ask for this to change?



It certainly ought to be one of the messages one would think


I took HRT only for 2 years before dianosis of OC (for menopausal symptoms) and was informed by my GP that this was too short a period for it to have actually caused the OC, but as the OC had probably been developing slowly over a longer period I am convinced the additional estrogen gave it an extra boost!! In hindsight - no I wouldn't have taken it!

I agree Christyn, it is very rarely mentioned as a possible cause of OC.

xx Colette


I wonder if hormonal treatment for infertility is causative that and no protective pregnancy or contraceptive pill is my story I believe.


It's a thought, isn't it?


Very interesting, I haven't had hrt, but does that imply that a tumour may have been dormant but was fired up with hormone treatment in some cases?

My SIL had a breast removed after three rounds of IVF, and was told that breast cancer and OC is a greater risk when having infertility treatment, this was in the mid 90's and her cancer came about in the mid 2000's.

LA xx


I always suspected vagifem, but was assured no connection.

But I always had my doubts.


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