BHRT and Breast Cancer – prepared to be surprised!

Few topics garner such passionate attention as the topic of Breast Cancer in women.  In fact, the emotion surrounding Breast Cancer is so strong, that the entire month of October is dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness every year.  Entire health fairs are devoted to increasing awareness and teaching early screening and detections.  The pink ribbons are ubiquitous.  Mammograms are nearly given away by radiology centers.  Yet the rate of number of Breast Cancer cases continues to grow.

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, one in eight women will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer in her lifetime.  Breast Cancer remains the second leading cause of death among women (second to Heart Disease).  It is estimated that over 250,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer and that at least 40,500 women will die of the disease annually. Today, there are over 33 million Breast Cancer survivors alive in the US.

Ironically, traditional medicine spends so much time and attention on detection, yet there is little talk or discussion on prevention.  If Breast Cancer is so pervasive and then so destructive to women, why is there not more done to preventing this terrible affliction instead of just discovering, treating and stoking the emotional fire??

The fact is that Breast Cancer rates among menopausal women are dramatically higher than they are in younger “hormonally healthy” women.  This association is incontrovertible.  So, simply stated, in the absence of natural hormone balance, Breast Cancer rates climb.  It has been demonstrated by multiple studies that hormonal decline is associated with increasing rates of Breast Cancer.

While little is actually known about the true underlying cause of Breast Cancer, many conventional wisdom myths pervade the culture and often scare women away from lifestyle choices that can actually make a difference.  In 2002 the world was rocked by the publication of the Women’s Health Initiative in the Journal of the American Medical Association.  In a report that has been grossly over-reported and substantially mis-understood, many sectors (physicians and lay persons alike) have come to the erroneous conclusion that “hormone therapy” for menopausal women is the cause of breast cancer and that all “hormones” must be avoided at any cost.  However, a detailed reading and in depth understanding of this study actually reveals that a non-human form of estrogen derived from horse urine (that is over 100 times stronger than human estrogen) when combined with a chemical called Medroxy Progesterone Acetate (incorrectly called “progesterone”) is likely responsible for an increase in Breast Cancer among women who take this toxic combination.  Subsequently a number of studies have indeed confirmed that this non-physiologic combination of “drugs” is not healthy for women.

It is unfortunate that the medical community at large and the general public do not realize that there is not one article in the medical literature that shows that biologically identical hormone therapy, when administered by a well-trained specialist and when the therapy is properly monitored causes any increase in the rate of Breast Cancer.  In fact, an extensive review of the medical literature clearly shows, that when the natural hormonal decline of aging is reversed by supplementing with biologically identical hormones such as Estradiol, Progesterone and Testosterone, that Breast Cancer Rates either stay the same or actually decline.

Let me provide a couple of examples.  According to a 2016 article published in the Journal Nature Reviews Cancer, biologically identical Progesterone “can reprogram estrogen action in the breast in a way that results in estrogen receptor action improving breast cancer outcomes”.  This means that Progesterone actually inhibits or prevents the growth of cancer cells in the breast.

In another review study comprised of over 86,000 women and published in 2017, “the use of ‘natural’ progesterone was associated with a significantly lower risk of breast cancer

As well, other previously condemned hormones have been shown to have a protective effect against Breast Cancer.  Rebecca Glazer is a world-renowned Breast Cancer surgeon from Dayton Ohio.  In 2015 she published an article in one of the leading journals on menopause, Maturitas.  In that article she noted: “testosterone…reduced the incidence of breast cancer in pre and post-menopausal women.”  Further, “evidence supports that Breast Cancer is preventable (emphasis added) by maintaining a Testosterone to Estrogen ration in favor of Testosterone (that is, supplementing Testosterone)”.  Notably, Dr. Glazer’s work has been supported and confirmed independently by researchers, half way around the world, at the University of Adelaide in Australia. That Testosterone is breast healthy and likely Breast Cancer protective is a stunning, dramatic and likely the beginning of what should be a complete reversal of opinion on the effect of hormones on Breast Cancer.

Breast Cancer is a devastating and life altering condition that affects far too many women.  Certainly, it is essential that the medical community and the public in general be focused and vigilant on early detections and aggressive treatment.  And there is no doubt that current recommendations and treatment programs have reduced the death rates from this dreaded disease.  However, a thorough reading and understanding of recent medical literature clearly indicates that proper hormone balance in aging women using biologically identical hormones has substantial long-term health benefits and does not increase the rate of Breast Cancer and may even be important in reducing the rate of new Breast Cancer cases.  When it comes to properly administered Biologically Identical Human Hormones an ounce of prevention is certainly worth more than a pound treatment.

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