As the American population ages, more women are beginning menopause every day. Throughout perimenopause, many women face a range of uncomfortable side-effects. In order to alleviate these symptoms, some women turn to hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in the form of estrogen or a combination of estrogen and progestin. In 2002, a landmark study linked HRT with an increased risk of breast cancer, which resulted in a significant drop in overall HRT use; however, many women still benefit from this form of therapy. HRT use can have various effects on breast tissue including an increase in mammographic density. These changes can have implications for mammographic accuracy. It is important that radiologic technologists performing mammographic examinations understand the effect of HRT on the breast.
After reading this article, the participant should be able to:
- Discuss the risk and benefits of hormone replacement therapy as it relates to breast cancer.
- Explain the role of hormone replacement therapy and breast density in postmenopausal women.
- Discuss the relationship between breast density and mammographic accuracy in postmenopausal women.