Hormone Treatments May Be Dire After Menopause

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A digital mammomat inside a mobile mammogram service. (Andreas Rentz/Getty)

Women have long known that hormonal treatments for women after menopause could increase the risk of breast cancer. A new study being released today sheds more light on the consequences. The study says that hormones can cause the cancer to be more advanced and deadly.

Denise Grady, science reporter for The New York Times, joins us to explain more about the study's revelations.

Comments [11]

jeffrey dach md from Florida

Secondly, we know that estrogen alone does not increase breast cancer risk. This is obvious from data from the second arm of the WHI study published in JAMA 2004. There was actually less breast cancer in the estrogen treated group. This was a RCT study (randomized Controlled study). So the answer is NO, Estrogen by itself, does not cause breast cancer. This has been fully refuted by the WHI study second arm. Clearly,the culprit in the first arm of the WHI was the progestin which has been known for decades to cause cancer and heart disease.

Oct. 29 2010 02:56 PM
jeffrey dach md from Florida

The French Cohort Study concluded that bioidentical progesterone was preferable to the synthetic progestins.
They followed 80,000 woman study over 8 years.. The data showed increased breast cancer from synthetic Progestins, but not from natural progesterone, which is actually protective from breast cancer. Again, this study indicates that women should avoid the synthetic progestins and instead use natural progesterone. After the 2002 WHI study came out, millions of women switched from the synthetics to the bioidenticals, and national breast cancer rates plummeted...

For more see:

Oct. 29 2010 02:51 PM
JWR from USA

Probably one of the reasons bioidenticals were not mentioned as "alternatives" was that, despite the fact that they relieve symptoms, they have not been proven to be a safe option for women who wish to avoid Prempro.

The BHRT debate is heated because the necessary research is lacking. Very few randomized trials have examined this type of therapy for disease prevention, but the ones that have been done are worrisome. Estradiol through the skin failed to prevent second heart attacks and instead raised the risk in a trial called PHASE. Estradiol in pill form tripled the risk of recurrent and fatal stroke in women with a prior history in a trial called WEST. A bone study of ery low dose estradiol given as a skin patch (trial name ULTRA) also worsened memory.

As for cancer, there are no trials whatsoever on BHRT. But it's a bit foolish to insist there won't be a risk since it is a woman's OWN estrogen that's the biggest risk for breast cancer. And up to now, the big observational studies have also linked BHRT to increased breast cancer risk, and to a similar magnitude as Premarin and other "synthetics".

Oct. 21 2010 01:37 PM
Andrea (Holy Hormones) from Charlotte, NC

I have been on bioidentical hormones for 4 years--saved my life. This goes way beyond hot flashes, it also cured RLS, seasonal allergies, acid reflux, and works better than Ritalin on ADD. If anyone would like a list of resources to help you find a doctor/compounding pharmacy in your area, or the name of my doctor in Southern CA, please contact me through holyhormones@gmail.com. Best wishes to all for hormonal health!

Oct. 20 2010 12:24 PM
Anita Warwick from FT Lauderdale

Because pharmaceutical companies cannot patent BIO IDENTICAL hormones there has been less research but not to bring the issue of BHT to a report on menopause is irresponsible reporting.
I researched bio-identical hormones and continue to use them despite early stage breast cancer last year. It's about quality of life! Thank you Susanne Somers for all of your research and books. I also recommend reading Uzzi Reisss and Thierry Hertoghe.

Oct. 20 2010 10:24 AM

A 56 yr old relative who had a hysterectomy before menopause, uses and will not stop using hormone replacement. She is VERY fit - runs, swims and bikes in Iron Man events. She claims that when she tried (several times) to stop using the hormones she could no longer participate in physical exertions and lost mental concentration. Without the hormones she claims she becomes a sweating, incontinent, balding slug.

Oct. 20 2010 09:32 AM
Donna Feldman from Colorado

HRT is the only viable treatment for menopause? So you're labeling menopause a "disease", which it isn't. Thanks to the constant drumbeat of media hysteria over the years about this faux disease, plenty of women are now brainwashed into believing that they must be having symptoms that deserve treatment. A healthy active lifestyle and normal body weight takes care of symptoms. But drug companies don't make money off that, and clueless journalists don't think past what the drug companies are feeding them by way of drug-company funded research. Since so few menopausal women in this country have a healthy lifestyle or normal body weight, no wonder menopause symptoms flare out of control.

Oct. 20 2010 09:01 AM
Peg from Ithaca

Linda, where can we get info on bio identical hormone replacement? Where are the studies that show the bio identicals are safer than the traditionals. Also I thought that the "traditionals" were derived from pregnant mare (horse) urine (premarin)[yuccch]. Wouldn't that be considered a biological source?

Oct. 20 2010 08:50 AM
Linda Hahn from NYC

I feel like I need to add more....How could Denise Grady produce a report on HRT and NOT include any mention of BIO identical HRT? Pharmaceutical companies who produce the synthetic forms of hormones don't want any discussion on these because they cannot patent bio identical hormones. I would expect more from the the NYT especially from a SCIENCE reporter when asked a direct question about alternatives to traditional HRT. Women deserve ALL the information. Denise Grady said that you can risk cancer with traditional HRT (using Prempro or Provera or other sythetics) or "tough it out." That's it???? Those were the only alternatives she said were available to women. The result of this kind of lazy reporting means that women who do not have the time to do their own research on the subject will now never consider bio identical HRT because of the fear that this kind of reporting causes. There ARE alternatives to cancer and "toughing it out." This segment is not only an example of lazy reporting it may also result in the unnecessary suffering of women who NEED a safe pathway through the menopause years.

Oct. 20 2010 08:30 AM
Joan Mancuso from New York CIty

I always knew deep in my gut that hormone replacement therapy would be eventually tied to breast cancer. My perspective in 2003 when I developed early stage breast cancer was that removal of my ovaries due to a hysterectomy and replacement of estrogen with an synthetic hormone in 2000 drastically changed my immune system allowing an aggressive form of the cancer to grow. That year I was four months late on my annual mammogram. Since 2006, I've had advanced stage 4 breast cancer.

Oct. 20 2010 07:06 AM
Linda Hahn from New York City

I was dismayed to hear the NYT reporter Denise Grady respond to John Hockenbery's question as to other alternatives to HRT. Why is there no discussion of BIO IDENTICAL hormone replacement? Is it because pharmaceutical companies cannot patent these substances so therefore will not produce them? I'm just completely surprised that your report on this very important subject was missing any discussion on this. It makes me think you guys don't really do your research on any topic.

Oct. 20 2010 06:53 AM

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