Hi reader, during menopause, hormone levels decline, particularly estrogen and progesterone. These declines carry their own risks including rising inflammation, loss of bone density, heart disease and mental functioning. Hormone replacement therapy is aimed at relieving the symptoms of menopause as well as protecting against deteriorating health, however you are absolutely correct as they do put a woman at risk for developing estrogen dependent breast cancer, especially if she has hereditary breast cancer in the family and if they are used for longer than five years. The safest compromise is to use the lowest dose that achieves an acceptable benefit for a limited time. The advent of bio-identical hormones theoretically carries a lower risk as the dose can be tailored to each women’s individual needs and should match the body’s natural metabolism better than a synthetic or animal hormone can. Even so, continue to have regular mammograms and blood levels to evaluate and adjust hormone replacement therapies in order to lower the risk even further.