The Truth About Estrogen Therapy and Breast Cancer Risk

Estrogen Therapy

Few topics evoke more fear and confusion than the role estrogen plays in the development of breast cancer. It’s October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and while increasing awareness is important, I personally believe, that it’s more important to get the truths about topics that evoke strong emotion out into the world.

Hormone replacement therapy and breast cancer risk are one of those hot-button subjects.

This week’s video blog is about estrogen and its relationship to breast cancer risk, where the fear of HRT came from, and what you need to know if you decide that hormone replacement is right for you. The decision to use HRT is very personal and knowledge is power!

Here are some other resources for you to check out as you make decisions that affect your quality of life and health.

  1. North American Menopause Society recommendations for hormone therapy (updated 2017). The latest set of guidelines suggest that therapy can be continued as long as needed to control symptoms. NAMS steers women away from compounded hormone therapies because they’re not “FDA approved”. This is the one point I disagree with. Read more about compounded hormones here.
  2. WHI study 2002. This was the study that kicked off the fury around estrogen therapy and breast cancer risk. Subsequent subanalyses showed that synthetic progestins were really the culprit that increased this risk.
  3. Danish study of low-dose birth control and hormone impregnated IUDs. This study showed a small increase in breast cancer with the use of synthetic hormones in these products.
  4. How to talk to your healthcare providers to get the care you need. Here’s a blog post I wrote about that.

Hormone replacement therapy can be life-changing for some women, but fear stops many from pursuing it. It’s important to inform yourself about risks and benefits and to make sure you work with a professional who is updated on the current recommendations.

Dr. Anna Garrett is a menopause expert and Doctor of Pharmacy. She helps women who are struggling with symptoms of perimenopause and menopause find natural hormone balancing solutions so they can rock their mojo through midlife and beyond. Dr. Anna is the author of Perimenopause: The Savvy Sister’s Guide to Hormone Harmony. Order your copy at

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