Clarifying the 2002 WHI Study
Several of our patients read a negative article on hormone therapy in a September 2009 issue of The Virginian-Pilot and asked for our opinion. We appreciate the questions and encourage them, because this is the best way to get solid, unfiltered information.
Here are some key points that clear up the issue:
• The “new” study reported in the paper was not actually new. It was rehashed information from a 2002 Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study.
• The “new” study noted that in the WHI study, women who took progestin/conjugated equine estrogen had a higher risk of dying of non-small cell lung cancer.
• Unfortunately for women readers, the data from the WHI study was misinterpreted and reported incorrectly, and the same is true for the “new” study.
• The WHI study was not on BIOIDENTICAL HORMONES. It was on PREMPRO, which is a synthetic hormone that has been clearly shown to have numerous problems. We at Synergy do not provide care through this type of hormone. We only use bioidentical hormones.
• The occurrence of lung cancer in women on PREMPRO versus those not on hormones was the same. Hormone therapy DID NOT increase the risk of getting lung cancer. However, hormone therapy did increase the risk of dying from lung cancer if it is contracted. The reason why this happens is not clear and needs further study.
• The WHI study clearly showed that the risk of dying from lung cancer was enormously higher in current smoking women. But the final number also combined women with heart attacks, strokes, hip fractures and emphysema — who also smoked. As you can see, it is very misleading to report an average figure from two, very separate groups of women — smokers and non-smokers.
We hope this provides you some context, and we look forward to any other questions you may have.
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