According to a new study, the sudden drop in the rate of mammograms taken by women is due to the fear of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Up to the year 2000, many women used to take up mammography, once every two years, as a screening method for breast cancer. By the year 2005, researchers noticed a drastic decrease in the number of mammograms. The reason behind this drop was pointed out by Nancy Breen, PhD, researcher from National Cancer Institute and colleagues. According to her observations, this drop was due to HRT.
Breen and colleagues published their observations in the journal Cancer, and mention that stopping HRT was the major reason for the reduction in mammography use for women between the ages of 50-years-old and 64-years-old, while this was not applicable for women who were above 65-years-old.
The Women's Health Initiative study, published in 2002, showed a positive association between HRT and the occurrence of breast cancer. This made about 6.4 million women between the ages 50-years-old and 64-years-old, and about 2 million women above 65-years-old, go off HRT. HRT is prescription based and is recommended on the basis of a mammogram test. When women were scared to have HRT, visit to the doctor for its prescription also dropped, which, in turn, affected the rate of mammograms.
The researchers analyzed the data from the National Health Interview Surveys from the years 2000 and 2005, and found a statistical link between stopping HRT and drop in mammograms. This was applicable only for women between the ages of 50-years-old and 64-years-old. In 2008 and 2010, the number of mammograms increased again, much higher than in 2005, but the number of HRTs remains static.