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Transgender Hormone Therapy Doesn't Seem to Pose Major Risks
Researchers say findings should ease concerns as no increase seen in cancers or deaths

THURSDAY, Feb. 26, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Hormone therapy for transgender adults is generally safe, according to a new review.

The findings should ease the concerns of some doctors and transgender people who've wondered about the safety of such therapy, the researchers said. These findings may also help reduce some of the barriers faced by transgender people.

The review analyzed existing research on the subject.

"Although many of the studies identified were small and will need to be replicated with larger numbers of patients involved, the overall trend of the findings is reassuring," review corresponding author Dr. Joshua Safer, an associate professor of medicine and molecular medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, said in a university news release.

"Notably, there was no evidence of a significant increase in cancer risk from transgender hormone treatment despite that being a common fear that is actually listed in most current guidelines," he added.

The review did find that hormone therapy was associated with an increased risk of blood clots in male to female transgender adults, and increased blood counts in female to male transgender adults.

However, there was little evidence that hormone therapy was associated with other serious health concerns, including increased risk of cancer or death.

The findings were published Feb. 24 in the Journal of Clinical and Translational Endocrinology.

"Although the review uncovers numerous areas in transgender hormone treatment that require more research, it should already help put to rest unnecessary anxiety about hormone safety for transgender individuals," Safer said.

"Thus, one additional barrier to care for transgender individuals can be substantially reduced relative to what is still thought by many," he concluded.

More information

The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association has more about the health of transgender people.

SOURCE: Boston University School of Medicine, news release, Feb. 24, 2015

-- Robert Preidt

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