New British research linking hormone replacement therapy to ovarian cancer has caused Australian women to become concerned about the treatment, health experts say.
Jean Hailes for Women's Health, a not-for-profit organisation that provides services for women across the country, says it has experienced a surge in demand for information about menopause treatment since publication of the study two weeks ago.
"Our main message for women on HRT is the decision to take HRT should be based on your individual circumstance, lifestyle and medical history," said director Janet Michelmore.
There has been a 20 per cent increase in calls to the medical clinic, the number of new patients seeking appointments is up 15 per cent and there have been at least 50 per cent more visits to the website, said Ms Michelmore.
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Dr Sonia Davison, an endocrinologist at Jean Hailes, said research indicates that for the majority of healthy women, HRT is a safe and effective treatment.
"It is only a small sub-group of vulnerable women who should take extra precaution," Dr Davison said.
The study published in the British medical journal The Lancet found women using HRT were 40 per cent more likely to develop ovarian cancer than those who had never used the treatment.
It reported one extra case of ovarian cancer for every 1000 HRT users after five years of use.
The findings were a result of an analysis of 52 studies, covering nearly 21,500 women in Australia, North America and Europe who had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer.