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BUDDY CHECK 6: Menopause treatment linked to breast cancer

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - Most women are familiar with the most common symptom of menopause: hot flashes.But there are others like night sweats, mood swings, and weight gain.

A study 10 years ago, raised red flags about the most common treatment for those symptoms and its link to breast cancer.

In the past, women took hormone replacement therapy or HRT, a combination of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, to ease the symptoms.

But a study in 2002 raised questions about HRT and an increased risk for breast cancer. Seventy percent of breast cancers are fed by estrogen.

Thousands of women were told to stop taking HRT. 

Where do things stand a decade later?

Dr.  Rashmi Vaidya with the Virginia Breast Center, says when it comes to HRT women should remember less is more. She says most doctors now prescribe an estrogen only pill

“So the recommendation  is if you need to take HRT, it should be a low dose estrogen for the shortest possible time,” says Dr. Vaidya.

She says that’s no more than two years which is the time when women experience the worst symptoms.

There are also non-hormonal options for easing menopausal symptoms. Dr. Vaidya says that includes anti-depressants, anti-seizure medication, and certain blood pressure medications.  

Watch Stephanie's full interview with Dr. Vaidya in the video players on this page.