INFORMATION ABOUT BREAST CANCER & PROGESTERONE
Both breast cancer and endometrial cancer tend to surface in women at a time in their lives when estrogen dominance is likely. In the case of breast cancer, consider the following observations:
Breast cancer is more likely to occur in premenopausal women with normal or high estrogen levels and low progesterone levels. This situation may occur in early adult life in a few women but is quite common after age 35 or so when anovulatory periods tend to occur. It also occurs after menopause when women are given estrogen supplements without progesterone.
Among premenopausal women, breast cancer recurrence or late metastases after mastectomy for breast cancer is more common when surgery had been performed during the first half of the menstrual cycle (when estrogen is the dominant hormone) than when surgery had been performed during the latter half of the menstrual cycle (when progesterone is dominant)
Tamoxifen (a weak estrogenic compound that competes with natural estrogen at receptor sites) is commonly prescribed to women after breast cancer surgery for the purpose of preventing recurrence of their cancer.
Pregnancy occurring before age 30 is known to have a protective effect. Progesterone is the dominant hormone during pregnancy.
Only the first, full-term, early pregnancy conveys protection. Women having their first pregnancies before age 18 have approximately one-third the risk of women bearing the first child after age 35. Interrupted pregnancies (induced or spontaneous abortions) do not afford protection and may in fact increase the risk of breast cancer.
Women without children are at a higher risk than those with one or more children.
Women subjected to oophorectomy (removal of both ovaries) prior to age 40 have a significantly reduced risk of breast cancer.
The protective effects of early oophorectomy are negated by the administration of estrogen.
Treatment of males with estrogen (for prostatic cancer or after transsexual surgery) is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.
Recently, industrial pollutants having potent estrogenic effects, called xenoestrogens, are being recognized as a pervasive environmental threat, likely to be a contributing factor in the incidence of breast cancer. Such correlations strongly suggest that estrogen, especially if unopposed by progesterone, is somehow related to the development of breast cancer.
Estrogen's job in the uterus is to cause proliferation of the cells. Under the influence of estrogen, uterine cells multiply faster, and then progesterone normally should come on the scene with ovulation and stop the cells from multiplying. Progesterone causes the cells to mature and enter into a secretory phase that causes the maturing of the uterine lining, which is now ready to receive a possible fertilized egg. An analogy would be the growth of an apple: When it's fmished growing, it begins to ripen. Estrogen is the hormone that stimulates cell proliferation, or the growing phase. Progesterone is the hormone that stops growth and stimulates ripening. Estrogen dominance also stimulates breast tissue: Premenstrual women who are estrogen dominant often suffer from breast swelling and tenderness. Progesterone is the hormone that brings maturation; it brings the cells back into balance, and thus can eliminate breast tenderness. We have an epidemic of breast cancer and cancer of the uterus in the United States. We have evidence that breast cancer occurs most often at the stage in your life when estrogen is dominant for the full month and progesterone is not coming in at the halfway point at ovulation time. Dr. Graham Colditz of Harvard maintains that unopposed estrogen is responsible for 30 to 35 percent of the breast cancers. I would put that number even higher.
The above information was taken from
What Your Doctor May Tell You About Menopause,
by Dr. John Lee. Priced at $13.50.
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Information on this site is provided for informational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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