Frequent Hot Flashes Linked to Lower Breast Cancer Risk
Hot flashes: they're annoying and sometimes downright unbearable. No one loves the dizziness, anxiety, or nausea that comes with going through menopause.
But what if those hot flashes meant you had a lower risk of breast cancer? That may be the case, according to a study recently published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention.
Researchers at the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center assessed information from 2,000 women aged 55 to 74, with half of the women having previously been diagnosed with breast cancer. All women were interviewed about various aspects of their medical histories, including how severe their menopause symptoms were, use of hormone replacement therapy, family cancer history, and more.
When the information was analyzed, the researchers found that women who had frequent, heavy hot flashes were half as likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer.
The Daily Mirror suggests that the reduced risk may be related to the fact that women prone to frequent hot flashes also have 40% less of the sex hormone estradiol, a form of estrogen.
Still, the National Health Service in the UK cautions that while the link found in the study appears plausible, more research needs to be done to confirm the association, and to quantify how effective the link may be.
And just because a woman suffers hot flashes, that doesn't mean she is immune to breast cancer -- not by a long shot.
The About.com Blog for breast cancer also notes:
Keep in mind that the risk of breast cancer increases with age - a fact that seems in conflict with the findings from this research... Several more studies would need to be able to repeat this data, before it can be conclusive.
Read more about the National Health Service's analysis of the study at the NHS UK website.