Menopausal Symptoms Linked to Lower Risk of Breast Cancer

Hot flush intensity is inversely related to postmenopausal breast cancer subtypes

FRIDAY, Jan. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Women who experience menopausal symptoms and have increased intensity of hot flushes have a reduced risk of postmenopausal breast cancer, according to a study published online Jan. 6 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Yi Huang, M.D., from the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues assessed postmenopausal women diagnosed with breast cancer to identify associations between menopausal symptoms and the risks of different histologic types of breast cancer (ductal, lobular, and ductal-lobular). Data were analyzed from a population-based case-control study in women aged 55 to 74.

The investigators found that women who had experienced menopausal symptoms had a reduced risk of developing invasive ductal carcinoma, invasive lobular carcinoma, or invasive ductal-lobular carcinoma. These risk reductions were independent of when or how recently hormone therapy was used, the age at menopause, and body mass index. Among women who ever experienced hot flushes, increasing intensity of hot flushes was associated with reduced risk of all three breast cancer subtypes.

"All women included in this study were 55 to 74 years of age at diagnosis suggesting that the hormonal changes that occur with menopause that take place five years or earlier still appear to impact breast cancer risk. So if our observations are confirmed, a greater understanding of the biological consequences of the hormonal fluctuations that occur during menopause and their relationship to breast cancer risk would be warranted," the authors write.

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