Hormone therapy: The risk-benefit tightrope

Published: July, 2007

Women must balance heart disease protection and breast cancer risk.

It was a shock several years ago when results from a large, government-funded study called the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) showed that postmenopausal women who took hormones were more likely to have heart problems than those who didn't. Previous research had pointed to both risks and benefits from hormone therapy. The risks? Stroke, blood clots in the veins that could potentially travel to the lungs (pulmonary emboli), and most of all, breast cancer — all were more likely with hormone therapy.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »