Tips & Advice

From Dr. Liz Herself

May 3, 2011
Estrogen PREVENTS Breast Cancer?!?

NEWS THAT NEVER MADE BIG HEADLINES

Data analysis from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Study, first reported in 2002, just keeps coming, even though the study results are not applicable to most women nowadays due to the women studied and the hormones that were used. The biggest finding that you never heard about was that the women only on estrogen (Premarin) had LESS BREAST CANCER!

If you’ve heard me speak on the topic of the WHI Study, or read about it in my book, you know that (1) the women in the study were the “wrong” women (on average had gone through menopause 10 or more years before, and were not having any menopause-related symptoms), (2) the hormones used were the “wrong” hormones (non-bioidentical estrogen from horses and synthetic progestin) and (3) the “wrong” route of administration was used (oral estrogen increases cardiovascular risks while transdermal does not). Nonetheless, most U.S. doctors don’t know these details, and have yanked women off of their hormone therapy and/or have not been willing to start hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for women who are suffering with menopausal symptoms.

The good news is that doctors are starting to pay attention to what has been in front of us for many years: the women in the estrogen-only arm of the study (they had had hysterectomies so were not given progestin) had LESS BREAST CANCER! A recent article in the Journal of the American Medical ASssociation (JAMA) reviewed long-term findings in this group, and confirmed:

“One of the key findings was that estrogen-alone therapy was associated with a significant reduction in risk for invasive breast cancer. The findings were similar during the active treatment period and the post-stopping period: overall, about a 23% reduction in risk for breast cancer.”

Several large studies (with a total of over 100,000 women) in the U.S. and Europe have confirmed that it is NOT the estrogen, but rather the long-term use of the non-bioidentical progestin MPA (medroxyprogesterone acetate) that is associated with an increased risk of invasive breast cancer. MPA is useful in many circumstances, but for long-term HRT in menopause, it is not the safest choice.

Click here for a short article or here for a comprehensive article by Dr. Kent Holtorf on the safety of bioidentical hormone therapy. A woman has to feel good to live her best life possible! Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy may be just what the doctor ordered so she can feel her best.