BY ED SUSMAN
CHICAGO–Physical activity is known to reduce the risk of breast cancer–but all the benefit of that activity appears to be negated by taking hormone replacement therapy. That is the conclusion of a meta-analysis reported here at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting (Abstract 1561).
“If you are a runner you should not take hormone replacement therapy because the hormones appear to wipe out the benefit as far as prevention of breast cancer is concerned,” Cécile Pizot, MS, a biostatistician at the International Prevention Research Institute in France, said in an interview at her poster study.
“A lower risk of breast cancer among physically active women has been frequently reported, but the risk in women using hormone replacement therapy appears to be higher.”
Asked for her perspective, Stephanie Bernik, MD, Chief of Surgical Oncology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said: “Although it has been known that physical activity could reduce the risk of breast cancer and that hormone replacement could increase the risk of the disease, it is interesting that this meta-analysis showed that hormone replacement could actually negate the positive effects of exercise.
“Women who exercise often want to do what they can to feel young and stay healthy,” she continued. “Although we have known the negative effects of hormone therapy, doctors now have persuasive evidence that the negative effects of hormone replacement therapy override the positive effect of physical activity. Women should be encouraged to do what they can to live healthy lifestyles, with the understanding that it is difficult to justify the use of hormone replacement therapy as part of that equation.”