Breast Cancer and Estrogen + Progestin – The News Isn’t Good.

Combined estrogen and progestin hormone replacement has long been thought of as safer than estrogen alone therapies.  Sadly, we’re finding now that the risks are just as terrifying.  A new study published in the Oct 20th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) suggests that estrogen + progestin HRT increases the number of women who get invasive breast cancer, the severity of their disease, their cancer related death and also, surprisingly, the non-cancer related death.

PINK PILLS © Marc Dietrich |

These findings are from an 11 year follow up to the Women’s Health Initiative study and they are a great reason to find options other than hormone replacement therapy for menopausal symptoms. Combine this research with a study published in 2009 that showed estrogen + progestin raises the risk of death in women with non-small cell lung cancer by 59% and hormone replacement looks less and less like a viable, safe option.  Taking estrogen + progestin also raises your risk of heart disease including heart attack, strokes and blood clots.

There are natural options for hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and mood swings.  They may not be as immediately effective as hormones, but they also won’t kill you and I’m going to call that a big plus. Many of the worst menopause symptoms can be helped with simple measures like dietary fiber and indole-3-carbinol, which helps your body to detox excess estrogens.  If your hormones are out of balance then try working with a naturopathic doctor who can help you to get back in balance without hormone replacement. This is one risk that just isn’t worth it.

For news reports with more detail on the studies above, see:

International Medicine News: WHI: HT Raises Long-Term Breast Cancer Incidence, Disease Stage, and Mortality

WebMD: Hormones Raise Risk of Lung Cancer Death

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One Response to Breast Cancer and Estrogen + Progestin – The News Isn’t Good.

  1. What I find incredible is that this JAMA article does not mention the fact that Progestins are chemically altered versions of Progesterone. Nor do any of news media articles mention Progesterone, the original human hormone that the drug companies are trying to copy. The synthetic copy is called a Progestin, an inferior, “monster” hormone that causes breast cancer. Progesterone is safe and effective, and more so than any of the chemically altered progestins. So why not use progesterone? None of the articles say this. I find this form of self-censorship to be astounding. Doctors reading this JAMA article are led to believe that Progesterone does not even exist. It does exist. It is even FDA approved at your local drugstore.

    jeffrey dach md

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