Hormone Replacement Therapy can relieve symptoms of menopause for some women -- and may also lower their risk for breast cancer.
A study of nearly 8,000 women who had a hysterectomy finds those who took estrogen-only pills had a 20-percent lower risk for developing breast cancer, compared to women taking placebo pills. They also experienced fewer hot flashes and night sweats.
Many women stopped taking all forms of Hormone Replacement Therapy after large studies suggested the pills increase the risk of stroke and blood clots. Those risks still exist -- so now doctors suggest women only take the lowest possible dose for a short period of time.
Nearly one-third of women in the U.S. have had a hysterectomy by the time they are 60. While some experts say it is too early to say estrogen-only pills prevent breast cancer in this group of women, the study authors say the drugs seem to be a safe treatment for menopause symptoms and may have additional benefits.