A new study has found that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) significantly increases the risks of women developing ovarian cancer, if taken by over-50s for up to five years.
The study, published in the Lancet journal, found that women who use HRT for even just a few years are 40% more likely to develop the two most common forms of ovarian cancer (serous or endometrioid) than women who have never undergone HRT.
Experts from the Collaborative Group on Epidemiological Studies of Ovarian Cancer analysed 52 studies from North America, Europe and Australia to establish the findings.
Interestingly, research showed that the risks decreased after women stopped taking the HRT, although they were found to be still “at significantly increased risk” for up to 10 years later.
The risks were found to be similar whether women used oestrogen-only or oestrogen-progesterone treatments.
Commenting on the new research findings, Professor Sir Richard Peto said that claims there was no risk for short courses of HRT 'simply aren't true'.
“If it were me and I had really bad symptoms, I’d worry more about those than any possible risk. But these findings should edge towards less use rather than more use,” he said.