Hormone therapy reduces risk of lung cancer in women


In a recent study, women taking higher cumulative dosages of hormone therapy had a reduced risk of developing lung cancer.

Hormone therapy (HT) may reduce the risk of lung cancer in women, according to a recent study published in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

For over 20 years, the benefits and risks of HT have been the subject of many controversies in the women’s health field. Despite some misconceptions, a recent study has indicated HT does not increase the risk of lung cancer in women and might even lower the risk of lung cancer development.

Worldwide, lung cancer is 1 of the most common forms of cancer and greatestsources of mortality from cancer. Over the past few decades, the incidence of lung cancer has increased. It is the most common type of cancer in women after breast cancer, with an estimated 20% to 50% of women affected being nonsmokers despite the risk of lung cancer because of smoking.

It has been speculated hormone factors are connected to the differences in characteristics of lung cancer in women compared to men. Prior studies have indicated lung cancer may progress in women through binding with hormone receptors because of an increase in sex-steroid hormones. However, different studies indicated the risk of developing lung cancer decreases for women in their reproductive years.

Given the inconsistent data on the association between HT and risk of developing lung cancer in women, investigators conducted a study on the association between HT and lung cancer risk based on dosage. Data came from over 38,000 postmenopausal women, and follow-up lasted for 16 years.

Investigators found postmenopausal women are not at an increased risk of lung cancer from HT, instead finding an association between higher cumulative dosages of HT and a decreased risk of developing lung cancer.

“This population-based study showed that hormone therapy use was not associated with lung cancer risk and, further, that it may be linked with a lower risk of lung cancer,” said Stephanie Faubion, MD, MBA, FACP, NCMP, IF, medical directorof NAMS. “This is reassuring for women weighing the cumulative risks and benefits of hormone therapy for management of menopause symptoms or osteoporosis prevention.”


Despite misperceptions, hormone therapy may actually reducerisk of lung cancer. The North American Menopause Society. March 1, 2023. Accessed March 20, 2023. https://www.menopause.org/docs/default-source/press-release/hormone-therapy-and-lung-cancer.pdf

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