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BMJ 1995; 310 doi: (Published 24 June 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:1684

Further data from the Nurses Health Study in the US on the risk of invasive breast cancer in postmenopausal women taking hormone replacement therapy suggest that the balance between risks and benefits, especially among older women, is a delicate one (New England Journal of Medicine 1995;332:1489-53). In women taking unopposed oestrogens the relative risk of developing breast cancer was 1.32; the addition of progestogens did not reduce the risk, and the relative risk among women over 55 who had been taking treatment for five or more years was 1.71.

Fear of infection has combined with financial cutbacks to lower the standards of care of the bodies of patients dying in hospital, says a survey reported in “Communicable Disease Report Review” (1995;5:R69-73). Funeral directors said that they opened body bags to find bodies in a soiled and offensive condition because the last offices had not been carried out. Directors also complained that they were often not told the cause of death or warned when it was an infectious disease, including HIV infection.

Cigarette smoking by children has shown no decline in the past 12 years. Shopkeepers surveyed in Bolton (Journal of the Royal …

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