- Women with persistent vasomotor symptoms (VMS) marked by hot flashes and/or night sweats may face a 13% increase in risk of breast cancer than women never experiencing VMS.
- Their mortality rate with breast cancer is no higher.
Why this matters
- Consider more frequent breast cancer screening for women with persistent VMS.
- Prospective cohort of 25,499 postmenopausal women (age, 50-79 years) without breast cancer or any use of menopausal hormone therapy in the Women's Health Initiative.
- Persistent VMS was self-reported moderate to severe hot flashes and/or night sweats within the prior 4 weeks of baseline; never VMS was never having these symptoms or by mild VMS.
- Funding: NIH.
- Median follow-up was 17.9 years; 38% of the cohort had persistent VMS (median duration, 10+ years).
- Persistent VMS was associated with a 13% higher risk of incident breast cancer than never VMS (HR, 1.13; 95% CI, 1.02-1.27).
- Persistent VMS (vs never VMS) was more likely associated with estrogen receptor-negative status (P=.018) and regional or distant spread (P=.002) of breast cancer.
- Persistent VMS (vs never VMS) was not associated with higher breast-cancer specific mortality (HR, 1.33; 95% CI, 0.88-2.02) or higher mortality (HR, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.81-1.29).
- Observational design.