According to new research, published yesterday in The Lancet, the risk of breast cancer from menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) is double what was previously thought. 

The researchers estimate that MHT has been responsible for 1 million cases of breast cancer since 1990. 

Sarah Moss, Breast Cancer Haven Manager, West Midlands said: 

“The associated risks of getting breast cancer as a result of taking hormonal therapies to reduce the side-effects of the menopause are not new. But the results of this latest study will be of huge concern to women undergoing treatment.”

The fact is that there are a number of different therapies available to women experiencing the side effects of the menopause. Doctors do not need to prescribe HRT as the first course of action anymore – there are a number of effective methods, such as complementary therapies, available that do not come with the associated risks of HRT.

Acupuncture, for example, can be effective at helping women overcome sleep problems, low moods, hot flushes and night sweats. Similarly cognitive behavioural therapy and hypnotherapy have been shown to improve hot flushes, sleep disturbance and sexual function. Our service users have also found herbal medicines, reflexology, Emotional Freedom Techniques, Mindfulness Based Stressed Reduction to be effective, too.

The impact of eating the right foods and reducing caffeine and alcohol consumption should not be underestimated in helping combat menopausal symptoms.

Finally, there is evidence that regular sustained aerobic exercise (like brisk walking) can have significant benefits for overall wellbeing but also for mental and physical symptoms of menopause.

Given the risks associated with HRT, we would suggest that women, at least initially, seek complementary therapies to reduce the side effects of the menopause.”

The full research paper can be found here.