ovarian cancer and hormone replacement therapy ( HRT )

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There is evidence from observational studies that there is a small increased risk of ovarian cancer in hysterectomised women with long-term use of oestrogen-only hormone replacement therapy (HRT) (1,2). The risks of ovarian cancer with combined HRT are unknown (2).

When considering the cumulative risk of ovarian cancer over 15 or 20 years (2).

ovarian cancer age of woman

50-69 years old

expected cases

9 cases per 1000 non-HRT users

5 years HRT use resulted in 1 (+/-1) (oestrogen-only) extra cases of ovarian cancer

10 years HRT use resulted in 3 (+/-2) (oestrogen-only) extra cases of ovarian cancer

The MHRA has summarised the risks of HRT with respect to breast, endometrial and ovarian cancer (3):

Summary of HRT risks and benefits* during current use and current use plus post-treatment from age of menopause up to age 69 years, per 1000 women with 5 years or 10 years use of HRT (3)


  1. Current Problems in Pharmacovigilance (2002), 28, 11-12.
  2. Current Problems in Pharmacovigilance (2003), 29, 1-3.
  3. MHRA (August 2019). Hormone replacement therapy and risk of breast cancer

Last edited 02/2020