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Med J Aust. 2008 Jun 2;188(11):641-4.

Decrease in breast cancer incidence following a rapid fall in use of hormone replacement therapy in Australia.

Author information

1
Cancer Epidemiology Research Unit, The Cancer Council NSW, Sydney, NSW, Australia. karenc@nswcc.org.au

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine if the recent rapid fall in use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in Australia has been followed by a reduction in breast cancer incidence among women aged 50 years or older, but not among younger women.

DESIGN AND SETTING:

Analysis of trends in annual prescribing of HRT, using Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme data, and in annual age-standardised breast cancer incidence rates in Australian women for the period 1996-2003.

RESULTS:

In Australia, prescribing of HRT increased from 1996 to 2001, but dropped by 40% from 2001 to 2003. Age-standardised breast cancer incidence rates in women aged > or = 50 years also increased to 2001 but declined thereafter. The incidence rates in this age group were lower by 6.7% (95% CI, 3.9%-9.3%; P < 0.001) in 2003 compared with 2001, equivalent to 600 (95% CI, 350-830) fewer breast cancers (out of about 9000 incident breast cancers annually for women this age). There was no significant change in breast cancer incidence for women aged < 50 years.

CONCLUSIONS:

While other factors may have contributed to a recent reduction in breast cancer incidence among Australian women aged > or = 50 years, the available evidence suggests that much of the decrease is due to the recent fall in use of HRT. This is consistent with other evidence that the HRT-associated increase in risk of breast cancer is reversible after ceasing use of HRT.

PMID:
18513172
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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