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Int J Cancer. 2007 Aug 1;121(3):645-8.

Hormone replacement therapy and breast cancer in former users of oral contraceptives--The Norwegian Women and Cancer study.

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Institute of Community Medicine, University of Tromsø, Tromsø, Norway.


Combined estrogen-progestin menopausal therapy (HRT) and combined estrogen-progestin contraceptives (OC) both increase breast cancer risk during current use and a few years after. We investigated risk of breast cancer in women who were users of HRT dependant on former history of OC use in a large, national population-based cohort study, the Norwegian Women and Cancer study (NOWAC). Exposure information was collected through postal questionnaires. Based on follow-up of 30,118 postmenopausal women by linkage to national registers of cancer, deaths, and emigration we revealed 540 incident breast cancer cases between 1996 and 2004. Compared to never users of either drugs current use of HRT gave a significant (p = 0.002) higher risk of breast cancer in former OC users, RR = 2.45 (95% CI 1.92-3.12), than among never users of OCs, RR = 1.67 (1.32-2.12). Relative risk of current use of HRT was similar for estrogen only and combinations with progestin added in ever users of OCs. The increased risk of breast cancer in current HRT users with a history of former OC use could have potential great impact on postmenopausal breast cancer risk as the proportion of postmenopausal women with former OC use will continue to increase.

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