HRT and Breast Cancer
Posted by Rebecca
The review included over 100,000 postmenopausal women, which means a lot of statistical analysis to draw conclusions from the results, comparing women of various ages, length of use and type of HRT used against women who have never used HRT and then accounting for alcohol use and other risk factors.
It concluded that the risk of developing oestrogen positive breast cancer was increased for post-menopausal women taking the combined oestrogen-progestagen therapy for over a year.
So why do we need HRT?
Oestrogen is produced in the ovaries, however, as we age, our ovarian function declines and our oestrogen levels drop resulting in classic menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes, night sweats, poor sleep patterns, low libido etc.
In healthy women the adrenal glands and fat tissue continue to produce sufficient oestrogen to keep symptoms at bay. Unfortunately for most women, stressful lives, poor diets and toxic environments put a heavy demand on the adrenal glands to produce our stress hormone cortisol resulting in low oestrogen levels.
If you are concerned about the risk of breast cancer but have seen an improvement in your symptoms since taking HRT, then a sensible approach is to continue taking your HRT whilst working with a nutritional therapist to work on the root cause of your symptoms.
Once you have made progress in any required lifestyle and nutrition changes, you can speak to G.P about any concerns you have with your medication. Your nutritional therapist can also share your healthcare plan with your G.P to support you in having this discussion.
Excess oestrogen and breast cancer risk
Although breast cancer affects more women over the age of 50, it is currently the leading cause of death for women under fifty (according to the office of national statistics, cancer registration statistics 2015. So, HRT isn’t relevant.
The issue is excess oestrogen.
The evidence shows that our exposure to oestrogen over a lifetime is linked to an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
Risk factors include starting your period earlier than <12 years, late menopause >55 years, having no children or children later in life. Various chemicals used in home cleaning and beauty products are converted to oestrogens in our body also increasing our exposure.
Many of my client’s present with symptoms of oestrogen excess, these include, heavy periods, breast tenderness, fibroids, endometriosis, hypothyroidism and P.M.S.
Often the root cause for oestrogen excess is our ability to clear oestrogen from the body. This involves a healthy liver and gut.
The Liver has to convert oestrogen into a form that can be excreted by the body, if our livers are burdened by high alcohol intake, pollution and poor nutrition, it will struggle to clear the oestrogen and in some cases convert the oestrogen into a more toxic molecule that can damage our DNA and contribute to the development of cancer.
Once your liver clears the oestrogen, it is then attached to another molecule and sent to the large intestine for excretion. However, an enzyme in the gut called beta-glucuronidase can separate the oestrogen and send it back into circulation and starts the clearance process all over again.
If you can relate to any of these issues and need support finding your root cause, then please get in touch.
Tagged as: HRT
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