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Understanding Cancer Series

  • Posted: 10/15/2010

Slide 22

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Estrogen Replacement in Menopause

In addition to their relevance for cancer treatment and prevention, SERMs may also be potentially important for women who have passed through menopause and therefore produce little estrogen.

The lack of estrogen in postmenopausal women is linked to several health problems. For example, estrogen has positive effects on blood vessels and on bones. After menopause, though, women are at increased risk for heart disease and for osteoporosis, a weakening of the bones that causes them to become more vulnerable to fractures.

To counteract these potential problems, some postmenopausal women take hormone pills containing estrogen to strengthen bones and help control other menopausal symptoms. But, as a consequence, such women are subjecting themselves to the harmful effects of estrogen--namely, an increased risk for invasive breast cancer and uterine cancer.

Estrogen Replacement in Menopause