Is the recent fall in incidence of post-menopausal breast cancer in UK related to changes in use of hormone replacement therapy?

Eur J Cancer. 2009 Jun;45(9):1649-53. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2009.01.016. Epub 2009 Feb 11.


There has been a substantial decline in the use of female sex hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in the United Kingdom, particularly by post-menopausal women, since around 2000-2001. Given what is known of the risk of breast cancer in women receiving HRT, the decline in use should have resulted in a decrease in risk, and incidence rates about 14% lower than expected were predicted for the age group 50-59 in 2005. There has been a recent slowing and reversal of the increasing trends in incidence of breast cancer in the age group 45-64. This is most marked at ages 50-59, where rates since 1999 have been decreasing at 0.8% a year, following a long period of sustained increase. It seems probable that these two events are causally related.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Age of Onset
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / etiology
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy / adverse effects
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy / trends
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Middle Aged
  • Postmenopause*
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology