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Hot Flashes Reduce Women’s Chances of Cancer?

According to a new study published by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, women who get hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms may be less likely to get cancer.

The research, which appeared in the January 26th edition of Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, questioned 1,437 postmenopausal women -- 988 of whom had at some point been diagnosed with breast cancer. The women ranged in age from 55 to 74 years old, and were asked about symptoms including but not limited to: hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, vaginal dryness, irregular or heavy menstrual bleeding, depression and anxiety.

"We know that hormones are important to breast cancer risk, and we also know that menopausal symptoms occur primarily because of changes in hormones that women experience as they go through menopause," said lead author and breast cancer epidemiologist Dr. Christopher I. Li.

"If we can confirm this finding, it may be somewhat of a silver lining for women who experience menopausal symptoms, because they can often really reduce a woman's quality of life," he said.

Researchers found that given estrogen and progesterone’s known role in breast cancer, the reduction of hormones during menopause may go a long way in lessening cancer risk.

Still, despite the findings noted in the report, researchers insist that more analysis is needed before any final conclusions on the correlation between menopausal symptoms and cancer risk can be made.

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