Treatment of estrogen deficiency symptoms in women surviving breast cancer. Part 2: Hormone replacement therapy and breast cancer.
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There are several million breast cancer survivors worldwide. In the United States, 180,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997, and approximately 97,000 of these women have an extremely low chance of suffering a recurrence of their cancer. With an average age at diagnosis of 60 years and a 25-year expected duration of survival, the current number of breast cancer survivors in the United States may approach 2.5 million women. Since breast cancer is now being detected at an earlier stage than previously and since adjuvant chemotherapy may cause ovarian failure, an increasing number of women are becoming postmenopausal at a younger age after breast cancer treatment. This conference was convened in September 1997 to consider how menopausal breast cancer survivors should be treated at the present time and what future studies are needed to develop improved therapeutic strategies. A total of 59 breast cancer experts and patient advocates participated. The proceedings of the conference will be published in six installments in successive issues of ONCOLOGY. The first part, published last month, defined the problem and explored its magnitude and ramifications for patient management. This second part focuses on the benefits and risks of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in patients with breast cancer.
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