Women who have received hormone-replacement therapy have a better breast cancer survival rate than others, but the advantage is probably due to more frequent mammograms, according to a study by researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the UW School of Public Health and Community Medicine.
The results, published in the November issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, were based on data from the Womens Contraceptive and Reproductive Experience (CARE) Study. The federally funded project studied 2,346 women at five sites around the country who were diagnosed with breast cancer between age 50 and 64.
The study found that 90 percent of women who had used hormone-replacement therapy had received a screening mammogram within two years of breast cancer diagnosis, compared to only 65 percent of other women. About two-thirds of women who had used the therapy and developed breast cancer had tumors smaller than two centimeters, compared to only about one-third of other women.
The researchers believe that women on hormone-replacement therapy are getting screened for breast cancer more often because they have to visit their doctors to renew their prescriptions for the hormones.
Janet Daling, a member of the FHCRCs Public Health Sciences Division and professor of epidemiology at the UW, was the studys lead author. The project included other researchers in Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia.
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