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The HRT furore: getting the message right

Anushka Patel, Robyn Norton and Stephen MacMahon
Med J Aust 2002; 177 (7): 345-346.
Published online: 7 October 2002

Research papers should have a short section on how the results should be communicated to the public

By all accounts, many of the half million Australian women who regularly take combined oestrogen and progestin hormone replacement therapy (HRT) were alarmed by the news on Wednesday, 10 July 2002, reporting that a United States study had shown HRT to increase the risk of breast cancer by 26%, as well as causing more vascular disease. Subsequently, numerous media reports, based on press releases from organisations such as the US National Institutes of Health (NIH)1 and the Cancer Council of New South Wales,2 continued to highlight the apparently large increases in risks caused by combined HRT and called for restrictions on the use of this treatment. General practitioners and cancer help-lines were inundated by enquiries from frightened women and reports of mass withdrawals from therapy soon followed.

  • Anushka Patel1
  • Robyn Norton2
  • Stephen MacMahon3

  • Institute for International Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW.

Correspondence: apatel@iih.usyd.edu.au

Competing interests:

None identified.

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