Medicine: Hard Looks at Hormones

Drugs to ease the toll of menopause are linked to breast cancer

Besides being emotionally stressful for some, menopause can bring physical discomfort and may lead the way to serious health risks in older women. When their reproductive years end and the production of sex hormones drops, women face not only the prospect of hot flashes and insomnia but also a greater chance of worse conditions, such as heart disease and a weakening of the bones called osteoporosis. Over the years, pharmaceutical companies have developed pills designed to replace the hormones the women have lost, and these drugs have come into wide use. Now, however, new questions are being raised about their safety....

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