(NaturalNews) It's not only estrogen that can spark breast cancer. Some malignant tumors are sensitive to the hormone progestin. And studies have shown that postmenopausal women who took a combination of estrogen and progestin in hormone replacement therapy (HRT) have an increased likelihood of developing progestin-fueled breast cancer. But new research concludes a natural therapy could help. University of Missouri researchers have found that curcumin, a popular Indian spice derived from the turmeric root, could reduce the risk of breast cancer risk in women exposed to HRT.
"Approximately 6 million women in the United States use hormone replacement therapy to treat the symptoms of menopause," Salman Hyder, the Zalk Endowed Professorship in Tumor Angiogenesis and professor of biomedical sciences in the University of Missouri's College of Veterinary Medicine and the Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center, said in a statement to the media. "This exposure to progestin will predispose a large number of post-menopausal women to future development of breast cancer. The results of our study show that women could potentially take curcumin to protect themselves from developing progestin-accelerated tumors."
For their study, which has been accepted for future publication in the journal Menopause, the research team found that curcumin delayed the first appearance of progestin-accelerated tumors in lab animal experiments. The spice also decreased the incidence and reduced the numbers of progestin-fueled breast tumors in the animal studies. In fact, curcumin prevented the appearance of gross morphological abnormalities in the animals' mammary glands.
In previous studies, University of Missouri researchers showed that progestin caused the accelerated development of certain tumors because the hormone increases production of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). VEGF is known to spur the supply of blood to cancerous tumors, making them grow more quickly. Hyder explained in the media statement that curcumin has been found to inhibit progestin-induced secretion of VEGF from breast cancer cells. So, by blocking the production of VEGF, the proliferation of breast cancer cells should be reduced .
"Curcumin and other potential anti-angiogenic compounds should be tested further as dietary chemopreventive agents in women already exposed to hormone replacement therapy containing estrogen and progestin in an effort to decrease or delay the risk of breast cancer associated with combined hormone replacement therapy," Hyder said.
According to the American Cancer Society, using HRT which combines estrogen with progestin for several years increases not only the risk of developing breast cancer but also the chances of dying from the disease. HRT containing both hormones makes breasts more dense and raises the risk the cancer may be found at a more advanced stage.
Author's note: NaturalNews is opposed to the use of animals in medical experiments that expose them to harm. We present these findings in protest of the way in which they were acquired.
Sherry Baker is a widely published writer whose work has appeared in Newsweek, Health, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Yoga Journal, Optometry, Atlanta, Arthritis Today, Natural Healing Newsletter, OMNI, UCLA's "Healthy Years" newsletter, Mount Sinai School of Medicine's "Focus on Health Aging" newsletter, the Cleveland Clinic's "Men's Health Advisor" newsletter and many others.