Have Hot Flashes? You May Be at Higher Risk for Breast Cancer

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Women who experience persistent hot flashes and/or night sweats associated with menopause are more likely to develop breast cancer than women who don’t have hot flashes, according to data from the large, long-term Women's Health Initiative research study.

The study results, published in Menopause, included data on more than 25,000 women not receiving hormone replacement therapy (HRT), who were monitored over about 18 years. During that time, nearly 1,400 of the women were diagnosed with breast cancer. According to researchers from the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), those who experienced the vasomotor symptoms hot flashes and/or night sweats for longer than 10 years had a higher incidence of breast cancer. The severity of vasomotor symptoms didn’t affect breast cancer survival rates, say the researchers.

Results of the study also suggest that a body mass index (BMI) above 30 and current alcohol use also impact breast cancer risk in women after menopause. Research investigating the link between breast cancer rates and hot flashes and night sweats is ongoing, largely due to the association between hormones and postmenopausal breast cancer risk.

Sourced from: The North American Menopause Society