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Cancer Causes Control. 2011 Jan;22(1):125-34. doi: 10.1007/s10552-010-9682-7. Epub 2010 Nov 16.

The contribution of postmenopausal hormone use cessation to the declining incidence of breast cancer.

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Department of Surgery, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05401, USA.


The striking decline in United States breast cancer incidence since 2002 has been widely attributed to a reduction in postmenopausal hormone use, yet very little analysis has been conducted to quantify the contribution of changes in hormone use to the declining trend. We used literature-based estimates of the relative risk and the changing prevalence of hormone use to estimate the impact of hormone use on the decline in breast cancer incidence between 2002 and 2003 among women aged 40-79. For the base case of a 44% decline in hormone use and a relative risk for current use of 1.5, we estimated that 43% of the decline in incidence was attributable to hormone use. By exploring a range of parameter values, we found that high, unlikely values of the relative risk (i.e., ≥ 2.25) and/or the percent decline in hormone use (i.e., ≥ 75%) would be required to account for 100% of the observed decline in breast cancer incidence. We conclude that hormone use is unlikely to account for more than half of the observed decline in breast cancer incidence between 2002 and 2003. Further efforts are needed to quantify the potential contributions of other factors, such as the plateau in screening mammography utilization.

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