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Million Women Study
A confidential national study of women’s health
Type of project
Medical Research Council
Cancer Research UK
National Health Service
The Million Women Study is a study of women’s health analysing data from more than one million women aged 50 and over, led by Dame Valerie Beral and a team of researchers at the Cancer Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford. It is a collaborative project between Cancer Research UK and the National Health Service (NHS), with additional funding from the Medical Research Council (UK).
One key focus of the study relates to the effects of hormone replacement therapy use on women’s health. The study has confirmed the findings in the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) that women currently using HRT are more likely to develop breast cancer than those who are not using HRT.
Results from the Million Women Study, together with those of the WHI trial from the USA, have influenced national policy, including recent recommendations on the prescribing and use of hormone replacement therapy from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and from the Commission on Human Medicines.
1 Study design
3.1 HRT and breast cancer
3.2 HRT and endometrial (womb) cancer
3.3 HRT and ovarian cancer
3.4 Alcohol and cancer
4 Public health implications: Impact of the Million Women Study
The Million Women Study is a multi-centre, population-based prospective cohort study of women aged 50 and over invited to routine breast cancer screening in the UK. Between 1996 and 2001, women were invited to join the Million Women Study when they received their invitation to attend breast screening at one of 66 participating NHS Breast Screening Centres in the UK. At these centres, women received a study questionnaire with their invitation, which they were asked to complete and return at the time of screening. Around 70% of those attending the programme returned questionnaires and agreed to take part in the study, over 1 in 4 women in the UK in the target age group. The Million Women Study is the largest study of its kind in