Researches in Orlando, Florida have reported that women taking Hormone Therapy for symptoms of menopause may be at a higher risk of lung cancer.
This is another mark against the therapy which is no longer being used as frequently as it was.
Researchers have cautioned women still using the therapy that they should not smoke during that period.
A Women’s Health Initiative study in which women took either a drug that combines oestrogen and progestin or a placebo was abandoned in 2002 when it was discovered that Hormone Replacement Therapy increased the risk of breast cancer.
Analysis from the study looked at lung cancer for the five and a half years that the women took the drug or placebo, followed by two years while off the drug.
Non small-cell lung cancer was detected in 96 out of the 8000 women tested using the Hormone Replacement Therapy. Out of the participants who took the placebo, cancer was detected in 72.
The difference meant that it could have occurred by chance, but there were 67 deaths from lung cancer in the hormone users to 39 among the placebo users, meaning that the number is statistically significant.
Of the non smoking women who took the hormone, 0.2% died from lung cancer, compared to the 0.1% who took the placebo. With women who smoked 3.4% of the hormone takers died from lung cancer and 2.3% of women taking the placebo.
Dr Otis Brawley of the American Cancer Society believes that the results were not due to chance, due to the meaningful number of difference in deaths and cases.