London: A new study has revealed that undergoing hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can increase ovarian cancer risk by as much as 40 percent.
The research by Oxford University has been welcomed by cancer charities, who are urging more women to study the risks before deciding if they want the treatment, Sky News reported.
Liz Aram, from southwest London, who underwent HRT for five years, was subsequently diagnosed with ovarian cancer and now is in remission, said that she thinks if she had known this information back then, she probably would have tried to live longer with the symptoms she was experiencing.
Fiona Osgun, from Cancer Research UK, said that research had already shown an increased risk of ovarian cancer for women using HRT for longer than five years, but this new, comprehensive analysis shows there's also a risk if you use HRT for less time than that. Once a woman stops taking HRT her risk of ovarian cancer can go back down over time.
Osgun added that HRT is effective at reducing symptoms of menopause and there are many factors at play in a woman's decision to use it or not and if you are thinking of stopping or starting HRT speak to your GP.
Sarah Branch, deputy director of MHRA's Vigilance and Risk Management of Medicines Division said that their advice has always been that the lowest effective dose of HRT should be used for the shortest possible time.
Branch added that they will evaluate the findings of this study and its implications for shorter term use and update product information as necessary. The decision to start, continue or stop HRT should be made jointly by a woman and her doctor, based on the best advice available and her own personal circumstances, including her age, her need for treatment and her medical risk factors.
The study is published in The Lancet.