Study: Long use of any hormones poses cancer risk

Posted April 01, 2012, at 8:15 p.m.

CHICAGO — New research suggests that long-term use of any type of hormones to ease menopause symptoms can raise a woman’s risk of breast cancer.

It is already known that taking pills that combine estrogen and progestin — the most common type of hormone therapy — can increase breast cancer risk. But women who no longer have a uterus can take estrogen alone, which was thought to be safe and possibly even slightly beneficial in terms of cancer risk.

The new study suggests otherwise, if the pills are used for many years. It tracked the health of about 60,000 nurses and found that use of any kind of hormones for 10 years or more slightly raised the chances of developing breast cancer.

“There’s a continued increase in risk with longer durations of use and there does not appear to be a plateau,” said study leader Dr. Wendy Chen of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

The hormone picture has been confusing, and the absolute risk of breast cancer for any woman taking hormone pills remains small. Doctors say women should use the lowest dose needed for the shortest time possible.

Aung San Suu Kyi wins seat in Myanmar Parliament, party says

YANGON, Myanmar —Voters elected opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to a seat in Parliament Sunday, according to her party, ushering in a new political era in the long-isolated Southeast Asian nation.

Hundreds of people cheered and shouted when a large screen outside the offices of her National League for Democracy party announced the victory. The party also claimed it had won at least 10 other seats of the 45 contested.

Despite Suu Kyi’s popularity in Myanmar, the victory, if confirmed, would put her in public office for the first time. She was under house arrest during previous general elections in 2010 and 1990.

While voting was peaceful Sunday, there were allegations of vote-tampering and harassment. The pro-military government hopes these those are minor enough to convince Western nations that it’s time to end economic sanctions.

Arab states agree to provide millions to pay Syrian opposition fighters

ISTANBUL — Arab states in the Persian Gulf have agreed to provide a monthly stipend of several million dollars to pay a “salary” to opposition fighters in Syria and encourage more defections from President Bashar al-Assad’s army, participants at an international conference on the Syrian crisis said Sunday.

The money is the first formal international support for the rebels, and officials attending the Friends of Syria conference said the substantial funds would also likely be used to purchase weapons on the black market for the rebel Free Syria Army.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton also announced that the United States would contribute an additional $12.2 million for humanitarian aid to Syria, bringing the U.S. total since the uprising began to $25 million, as well as “communications equipment” to “help activists organize, evade attacks by the regime, and connect to the outside world.”

Foreign ministers and other top officials from more than 80 nations and international organizations gathered here for a Friends of Syria meeting publicly warned Assad that he has little time left to comply with demands he stop his year-long slaughter of his own citizens. In private, the officials debated what their governments will do if, as expected, Assad does not stop.

Kofi Annan, the U.N. and Arab League envoy who met with Assad, is due to deliver a status report to the Security Council on Monday, and the statement directed him to “determine a timeline for next steps … if the killing continues.” Influential participants in the Friends group indicated that the timeline would constitute a deadline, perhaps a matter of weeks, for Assad’s compliance.

Roadside bombs kill 5 in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — A remote-controlled bomb in southern Afghanistan killed a police official Sunday who had survived multiple previous attempts on his life, police said.

Toor Jan, an officer in charge of several checkpoints in Uruzgan province’s capital Tarin Kot, died along with one of his bodyguards when their vehicle passed through an area where explosives had been planted, said Fareed Ayal, a spokesman for the provincial police chief.

Taliban and other insurgents frequently target local officials to undermine the Kabul government’s authority.

On Saturday, a roadside bomb killed two local council members and an Afghan policeman in Gizab district of Uruzgan province, Ayal said.

He said two other council members were wounded when their car hit a second bomb nearby.

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