Hormones and Ovarian Cancer

Oral hormone replacement therapy (HT) is associated with a risk of ovarian cancer in women who have not undergone hysterectomy, according to findings from a study of 1,487 women in Denmark. However, reducing the daily dose of estrogen from oral HT might lower the cancer risk.

The risk increased with the cumulative intake of the estrogen component of HT but not with the duration or the cumulative intake of the progestogen component. Each additional gram of estrogen produced the same relative increase in risk.

If a woman is taking HT for irregular bleeding only, treatment with progestogen alone might be preferable. If an estrogen component is required to alleviate menopausal symptoms, the lowest possible daily dose should be used.