Be aware if you or any one close to you is undergoing or contemplating to take hormone therapy for menopause symptoms for recent researches have found that women who are taking estrogen-progestin pills are more likely to develop a fatal lung cancer. In fact, the very recently published study says that women who have been using hormones to cure menopause symptoms and developed lung cancer faced more than double the risk of succumbing to the deadly ailment than those who are not taking any hormone therapy.
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Talking about the findings of the new study, Dr. Rowan Chlebowski of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Los Angles said that henceforth all smokers should strictly quit taking hormones and people who are yet to begin taking hormone therapy ought to give the idea a careful thought. Dr. Rowan headed the research team on the subject and also presented the findings of the research at a conference of the Oncology Society in Florida recently.
Altogether 16,608 women participated in this most recent nationwide study funded by the Women's Health Initiative. While a section of these women were given hormone pills like Prempro, others were administered dummy or fake tablets. The research was abruptly closed in 2002 when the scientists discovered that more and more women who were given Prempro, the estrogen-progestin pill manufactured by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, developed breast cancer. Presently, the researchers are persisting with the developments experienced by the women who participated in the study.
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The new analysis by the scientists took into consideration all the non-small-cell lung cancer that was undoubtedly found to be the most common type of the ailment. However, during the analysis the scientists did not discover any major dissimilarity in the number of lung cancer among the women who used hormones after being on the pills for over five years and over two years of follow-up. Nevertheless, the scientists found that compared to 27 per cent of incurable lung cancers among the women who were given dummy pills, a whopping 46 per cent of the women who took hormones developed fatal lung cancer.
According to Dr. Richard Schilsky, a cancer specialist at the University of Chicago and president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the findings of this study has once again proved that physicians ought to use hormone therapy with utmost prudence. Meanwhile, following the publication of the findings of the study, physicians have warned women already using hormone therapy to use the minimum dosage as well as the shortest possible time. In addition, Dr. Rowan Chlebowski has strictly advised women not to ever use a combination of tobacco and hormones as the mishmash of the two could eventually turn out to be fatal.
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Despite the above counseling, Dr. Len Lichtenfeld of the American Cancer Society is of the opinion that it is too early to come to any comprehensive assumptions regarding the use of tobacco and taking hormone therapy by women simultaneously as there have been only 106 lung cancer deaths among the participants of the study. According to Dr. Lichtenfeld, the number is not very appalling still.
Echoing Dr. Lichtenfeld's views, Dr. Joseph Camardo of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals asserted that women now no longer use hormones in the manner they have been using it in the earlier days. He pointed out that in the national study undertaken for Women's Health Initiative, women began taking hormone therapy at an average of 63 years and continued taking it for a period of over five years. However, in contemporary times, on average women usually start taking hormones between the age of 51 and 54 years and use it for only two years. Thus, Dr. Camardo is of the view that the hazards mentioned in the findings of the federal study may not be applicable in the new methods of hormone use.
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In fact, the scientists who undertook the federal research are yet to investigate the hazards of lung cancer in another part of the study where women were examined with only estrogen hormones. In this case, the subjects were not given any progestin hormone pills.
Before wrapping up the discussion, it is worth mentioning that presently lung cancer accounts for most of the cancer deaths in the world. It is shocking to note that there were over 215,000 new lung cancer cases and around 162,000 deaths from this type of cancer in the United States alone during the last year.