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Avatar universal

mammogram results

My mom, age 66, was just informed that her mammogram was abnormal.  She has had fibrocystic lumps removed before but these are calcifications.  Her 2000 and 2001 mammograms did not show the calcifications.  Her doctor doing a core biopsy this week and has assured her that if it is cancer they will be able to treat it due to catching it early.  She said that she saw the scan and it looked like tiny clusters.  She is very worried that her Prempro is to blame.  She quit taking it about 2 months.  My questions are this, what are the chances that this is cancerous?  Most of what I've read say that drs. tend to leave the spots there if they feel really good that they are harmless.  Could the hormoes be to blame?
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Avatar universal
Dear ClaireJD, Finding the clustered microcalcifications is a suspicious finding that needs to be investigated further, the results of the biopsy will tell whether this is cancerous or not.

Regarding your question if the hormones could be to blame, one factor alone does not cause a disease.  I am copying for you below an article discussing the recent published data from the Women's Health Initiative which may be helpful information for you.

July 10, 2002

Women's Health Initiative Reports New Risk/Benefit Information for Estrogen/Progestin Combination

Conjugated estrogens are currently indicated for the treatment of menopausal symptoms and prevention of osteoporosis. Use of conjugated estrogens for the prevention of other chronic diseases, as well as their potential negative effects on women's health, has been debated. Recently published data from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) has provided some additional insight on this controversial topic.1 This data has been highly publicized due to the early discontinuation of one arm of the study.

The discontinued arm included postmenopausal women with an intact uterus using conjugated equine estrogen (CEE) 0.625 mg in combination with medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) 2.5 mg daily (versus placebo). The primary outcome of the trial was coronary heart disease (CHD); hip fractures were a designated secondary outcome and invasive breast cancer was a designated primary adverse outcome. Additional outcomes are listed in the article. Data collection was stopped in May, 2002 (approximately 3 years early) when the researchers concluded the risks of therapy were greater than the benefits in the study population. The study was not conducted to challenge the current FDA approved uses of CEE.

Incidence of CHD, breast cancer, stroke, and venous thromboembolism was increased in the treatment group. The incidence of colorectal cancer and hip and vertebral fractures was decreased in the treatment group.

Based on their preliminary findings, the researchers do not recommend this combination of CEE and MPA for the treatment or primary prevention of CHD. It is suggested that the risks for CHD and breast cancer be weighed for each individual patient when this combination is used for its approved indications. Patients alarmed by the media reports should discuss this with their healthcare provider, and should not discontinue therapy on their own.

Data collection is still underway and additional or adjusted information from the completed study may be forthcoming. It should be noted that these results have not been seen in another arm of the WHI study, testing CEE alone in women without an intact uterus. This arm of the study has not been stopped and is expected to complete the planned 8 years of data collection.

1"Writing Group for the Women's Health Initiative Investigators. Risks and Benefits of Estrogen Plus Progestin in Healthy Postmenopausal Women: Principle Results From the Women's Health Initiative Randomized Controlled Trial,"JAMA, 2002, 288:321-33.




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