Oestrogen-only hormone therapy in women who have undergone a hysterectomy could raise the risk of breast cancer, an editorial has said, which could leave them requiring home care.
Scientists from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis say that the long-term consequences of short-term use of oestrogen therapy are unknown in the editorial, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The comments provide a response to the publication of a study conducted at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center which found that oestrogen-only therapy could actually decrease the risk of breast cancer if used for under five years.
It was also found in this study that negative effects of hormone therapy such as stroke, were eliminated after treatment had ceased.
Emily Jungheim, one of the authors of the editorial, said that alternative treatment options such as other medications or lifestyle changes should be explored.
"The symptoms women experience around the time of menopause can be significant. There may be a role for hormone therapy for some women who cannot find relief from other things," she said.
Hysterectomies are usually used to treat conditions such as long-term pelvic pain, heavy periods, fibroids and cancer of the ovaries, womb, cervix or fallopian tubes.