Less educated not given full facts on HRT

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The Independent Online
Women who are less well educated are more likely to be prescribed hormone replacement therapy than their more qualified sisters, according to a new study.

A survey of more than 1,200 women found that those with no formal qualifications were more likely to be given HRT because they are often given the treatment without really understanding the risks involved.

HRT has been shown to protect against osteoporosis, heart attacks and strokes, but it has also been linked to higher risk of breast cancer.

Better educated women may be more able to discuss the pros and cons of HRT with their doctors and subsequently are less likely to end up being prescribed it, said Rona Rubin, senior lecturer in behavioural sciences at Christ Church College Canterbury. "It highlights a worrying inequality in healthcare for those who are less well educated."

Although women with no qualifications looked for information just as much as the educated women, they were less successful at finding it and were unaware of the right questions to ask. Ms Rubin said this was an area GPs need to address.