A study published in Menopause found that postmenopausal women with persistent vasomotor symptoms (VMS), like hot flashes and night sweats, are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than women who never experienced VMS.
The researchers included a sample of 25,499 postmenopausal women 50 to 79 years from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) who did not currently or previously use menopausal hormone therapy. Patients had information available on VMS status, which was classified as never (n=15,784) or persistent (median duration of 10+ years; n=9,715).
19 years' follow-up, 5% of women were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. Menopausal women with persistent vasomotor symptoms (#hotflashes) had a 13% higher risk. Interesting observation. https://t.co/Sz5kFM1oxo
— Dr. Ali Khan (@UNMC_DrKhan) January 4, 2019
Over a median 17.9 years of follow-up, 1,399 incident breast cancers were observed, and the risk for breast cancer was 13% higher in women with persistent VMS. Compared with women who never had VMS, those who did had a higher breast cancer incidence (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.13; 95% CI, 1.02-1.27). Breast cancer-specific mortality was higher in women with persistent VMS (HR=1.33; 95% CI, 0.88-2.02), but this was not statistically significant. Persistent VMS status did not impact breast cancer overall survival (HR=1.02; 95% CI, 0.81-1.29).
— Randy C. Miles, MD, MPH (@RMilesMD) January 4, 2019
“I think the clinical recommendation at this point could just be diligence to continue screening mammography adherence,” Rowan Chlebowski, MD, PhD, of the City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, California, told Reuters.