Susan.....Yet another vital question, the answers to which plague women everywhere. Should we or shouldn't we? Where do we begin our research and how do each one of us make the safest and best decision?
To simplify, I can only share my own experience.
Having undergone a complete hysterectomy at age 44, mine was not a natural progression of menopause. At that time, taking as much info into consideration as possible, I opted to reject HRT.
The Familial/genetic risk for breast cancer literally surrounds me....mother & only sister, as well as aunts on both sides of my family. However, so does heart disease. Quite a dilemma.
On this note, my mother (female organs in tact) was a breast cancer survivor of 48 years, who ultimately succumbed to congestive heart failure at age 82. My sister,(ovaries in tact) quite tragically lost a five-year battle with breast cancer at age 60. Neither used HRT. There was one distinct difference between my 2 loved ones: TREATMENT. My mother had a radical mastectomy, some radiation and zero chemo. My sister, a lumpectomy & endless series of chemo and radiation. What does this mean? Very little except to add to the difficulty in understanding, wouldn't you agree?
It is however, a clear confirmation that HRT remains an individual & personal choice. We could literally weigh the issues FOREVER. It only makes sense to make the choice we find personally correct and comfortable. I should also mention that none of us (mother, sister nor I) experienced any negative symptoms of menopause....at all. Go figure, Susan. It's at least a miracle that we women survive the pressures of making these decisions. Seriously.
Bottom line? At least for me, I'd have to say, "So much for putting too much emphasis on genetics and family history."
One last comment.....I highly recommend the books written by Suzanne Somers, on the topic of holistic HRT. These books are an outstanding education for women in every regard.....Peace, Paula