Fears for HRT links to cancer
HUNDREDS of women are dying as the number of cases of deadly uterine cancer has tripled in recent decades – and experts are linking compounding chemists using unregulated hormone replacement therapies to the dramatic rise.
The number of new cases of uterine cancer diagnosed increased from 942 in 1982 to an estimated 2861 in 2017, and it now claims about 450 mothers and grandmothers a year.
Professor Neville Hacker, director of gynaecological cancer at the Royal Hospital for Women, said about half the rise was due to obesity.
“Fat cells produce oestrogen and that stimulates the uterus and brings premalignant changes called endometrial hyperplasia,” he said.
But he has also treated about a dozen cases of uterine cancer linked to hormone re- placement products produced by compounding chemists.
Professor Hacker was one of three doctors who in 2007 reported cases of uterine cancer linked to compound chemist HRT, but 10 years later regulators are still to act.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration said compounded medicines were exempted from safety and efficacy rules that apply to medicines produced by big pharmaceutical companies.
A spokesman for the Pharmacy Board of Australia said, in order to minimise the risks associated with compounded medicines, the board developed extensive guidelines in 2015.
The board said it was unable to comment about whether it had received any complaints about compounded medicines linked to cancer or whether it carried out audits to check their safety.