Women planning on taking hormone therapy for the treatment of menopausal symptoms should be aware of a possible increased risk for ovarian cancer, according to data presented at the Ninth Annual AACR Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research Conference, held in Philadelphia from November 7-10, 2010.

?This study is consistent with previous recommendations that say if women are going to take hormones they should only take them in the short term,? said Konstantinos Tsilidis, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow at the Cancer Epidemiology Unit at the University of Oxford.

Tsilidis and colleagues analyzed the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), which included 126,920 women, of whom 424 were diagnosed with ovarian cancer over nine years of follow-up.

EPIC is coordinated by Dr Elio Riboli, Head of the Division of Epidemiology, Public Health and Primary Care at the Imperial College London in the United Kingdom.

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The trial was designed to investigate the relationships between diet, nutritional status, lifestyle and environmental factors and the incidence of cancer and other chronic diseases. EPIC is a large study of diet and health in people in ten European countries, including Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

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Although former use of hormone therapy was not associated with increased risk, current use of hormone therapy was linked with a 29% increased risk.

Risk levels did not differ by type of hormone therapy (estrogen only vs. estrogen plus progestin), specific hormonal constituents, regimens and routes of administration of hormone therapy, or by ovarian cancer histology.

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