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Why the surprise about HRT dangers?

I agree with Dr Graham Barrowcliffe (Letters, March 15) that women should be given unbiased facts. The increased risk of breast cancer with HRT is similar in the American and the Million Women Study.

The latter also recorded a three-fold increase, from six to 19 per 1,000 women for five and 10 years of use respectively. The authors estimate an extra 20,000 breast cancers in progestogen-oestrogen users aged 50-64 in the past decade in the UK, saying that extra deaths can not yet be reliably estimated.

Breast cancer is the commonest cause of death and in the WHI study breast cancers diagnosed in users were more advanced at diagnosis and had a 22 per cent higher risk of mortality. Studies confirm increases in venous thromboses, strokes and heart attacks and lack of a clinically meaningful effect on health-related quality of life.

The oestrogen-only arm of the WHI study has also now been terminated because of increased risk of strokes and dementia. My patients use other methods for preventing or treating osteoporosis as internationally recommended.

I find hormone takers usually have multiple, undiagnosed nutritional deficiencies that decrease bone formation and increase bone loss. No one deserves congratulations for this sad, predictable and preventable disaster.

Dr Ellen Grant

Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey 

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