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Do perceptions of risk and quality of life affect use of hormone replacement therapy by postmenopausal women?



Do perceptions of risk and quality of life affect use of hormone replacement therapy by postmenopausal women?



Journal of the American Board of Family Practice 16(4): 270-277



Although the understanding of the health impact of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is incomplete, even less is known about the attitudes, perceptions, and motivations of women faced with the decision to use HRT. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relation between HRT use and women's perceptions of the risk and benefits associated with HRT use. A written questionnaire was administered to 387 women, aged 45 years and older, responding to a health plan invitation for free bone mineral density screening. Women were asked to estimate the lifetime probability of developing breast cancer, uterine cancer, osteoporosis, and myocardial infarction when taking HRT and when not taking HRT. Women rated their quality of life in their current state of health, with breast cancer, with uterine cancer, with osteoporosis, and after myocardial infarction. HRT users perceived a greater risk reduction using HRT compared with HRT nonusers for osteoporosis (-34.9% vs -17.8%, P <.001) and myocardial infarction (-20.7% vs -8.4%, P <.001). HRT nonusers perceived a greater risk increase using HRT compared with HRT nonusers for breast cancer (16.5% vs 3.3%, P <.001) and uterine cancer (9.2% vs 0.6%, P =.004). HRT users estimated a greater quality-of-life reduction compared with HRT nonusers for osteoporosis (-31.0 vs -24.5, P =.006). Regardless of whether they used HRT, women in this study overestimated their risk for all four diseases. HRT users perceived greater benefit and less risk using HRT than nonusers. The results of our study show that continuing efforts are needed to help women understand the risks and benefits of HRT.

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Accession: 048818539

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 12949027

DOI: 10.3122/jabfm.16.4.270


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