Doctors seek to allay HRT fears

Women have been urged not to panic over new research identifying a link between hormone replacement therapy and an increased risk of breast cancer. The deputy chair of the BMA's medical committee, Dr Hamish Meldrum, explained that the risk was only small and that HRT should not be considered unsafe.

It follows the announcement by the MHRA, which regulates medication and healthcare, stating that the use of HRT as a first line treatment for the brittle bone disease osteoporosis should be discouraged. Speaking on Radio Four's "Today" programme, Dr Meldrum said: "The review has concluded that the benefits don't outweigh the risks for using HRT as a first-line treatment [for osteoporosis]. Women who are on it for that reason should make a routine appointment with their GP and go and discuss whether they should change to some other treatments."

He added: "For those who are taking it for severe menopausal symptoms, they should still continue with it. We have to get risks into proportion. HRT does cause some increase in the risk of breast cancer but the committee has concluded that the benefits still outweigh the risks."

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 British Medical Association