Originally published October 3 2008
Propaganda Campaign Against Estrogen Benefits Pharmaceutical Companies
by Barbara L. Minton
(NaturalNews) Estrogen Boosts Risk of Breast Cancer is becoming an all too frequent media hot button story. The steady drumbeat smacks of propaganda and is an affront to basic common sense. Is it really possible that a woman's hormones are out to get her? Would nature have embraced such a design? Would the laws of natural selection have chosen the female with the built-in time bomb to be the prototype to mother the next generation? As with any media promotion, it is best to look behind the headlines to see what the facts really are, and what is to be gained by the hype.
If estrogen caused breast cancer, teenage girls would be in big trouble. But the fact is that most cases of breast cancer are diagnosed after the age of 50, with the average age at diagnosis being 64. This is the time of female life when the hormones have severely declined, and what hormones remain are in a state of imbalance. Women in this age group suffer from hot flashes, brittle bones, forgetfulness, sleep deprivation, vaginal dryness and lack of interest in sex. All of these symptoms indicate a serious deficiency of estrogen. Breast cancer is diagnosed at the time of life when other degenerative diseases show up, suggesting that we generally stay healthy until our hormone levels have declined.
Women convinced to give up their hormones by media half truth
Findings from the landmark Women's Health Initiative showed that estrogen did not increase a woman's risk of breast cancer. These postmenopausal hormone therapy trials were begun in 1995 and cut short in 2002 when the findings became compelling. For this study the researchers divided their subjects into two groups. Group A received estrogen plus progestin replacement. Group B received only estrogen replacement. Compared with the placebo group (those that received no hormone replacement therapy), Group A results indicated increased risk of breast cancer. Compared with the placebo group, Group B results revealed no increased risk of breast cancer.
The progestin taken by Group A and implicit as the agent in the increased breast cancer risk is a synthetic, patented laboratory creation. It has some biologic activity similar to progesterone, the natural hormone made by the body, but it is not made by the body. It is made by a pharmaceutical company and it is a drug.
When the news of the study was released it spread like wildfire. Headlines loudly proclaimed that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) caused breast cancer. Women threw out their hormone replacements in droves and swore they would never consider hormones again. There was little distinction in the media of the fact that it was only the group taking the synthetic hormone drug progestin that had actually shown an increase in breast cancer. Many physicians and most women were never fully informed of the results of the study. There has been no media attempt to make women aware that estrogen did not cause breast cancer.
Another landmark study was released during the Women's Health Initiative trials, but for some reason was overlooked by the media. This study, published in the May 2001 Journal of the National Cancer Institute, investigated the impact of HRT on recurrence and mortality after a diagnosis of breast cancer. Data was collected from 2,755 women aged 35-74 years who were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer while they were enrolled in a large health maintenance organization from 1977 through 1994. Pharmacy data identified 174 uses of HRT after diagnosis. Rates of recurrence and death were calculated.
Results indicated that the rate of breast cancer recurrence was 17 per 1,000 in women who used HRT after diagnosis, and 30 per 1,000 in nonusers. These relatively low rates of recurrence and death were observed in women who used any type of HRT. No change in relative risk was found with increased dosages.
Although researchers concluded that HRT after breast cancer has no adverse impact on recurrence and mortality, these findings are certainly not a free pass for conventional HRT. What they point to is the powerfully protective effect of estrogen, even when combined with cancer promoting progestin. If those participants taking progestins were eliminated from the study, the rates of recurrence and death for the HRT group would have been even lower.
Two more recent studies have shed light on the importance of hormone balancing in the prevention of breast cancer. The March-April 2007 edition of Menopause reports researcher's hypothesis that androgens such as testosterone may counteract the proliferative effects of estrogen in breast cells. Androgen is the generic term for any compound that stimulates development and maintenance of masculine characteristics.
In this study 99 postmenopausal women were given continuous combined estrogen (estradiol) along with progestin and were assigned to receive additional treatment with either a testosterone patch or a placebo patch. Results indicated a more than five fold increase in total breast cell proliferation in the placebo group. In the group with the testosterone addition, no significant increase in proliferation was recorded. Testosterone was shown to successfully balance the proliferative effects of estrogen, even when those effects were boosted by the presence of progestin.
Evidence of nature's love of balance and symmetry is abundant throughout the living world. These results offer evidence that testosterone in women is nature's balancing mechanism, just as the presence of estrogen in men must surely be. It is when all is not in balance that degenerative diseases can occur. These studies also underscore the dangers of HRT as commonly prescribed. This is the result shown by the Women`s Health Initiative study that never fully explained: when women take progestin their risk of breast cancer is substantially heightened.
There are several more studies with similar results. The findings of each suggest the conclusion that estrogen does not lead to breast cell proliferation unless it is accompanied by the synthetic drug progestin. Estrogen alone causes no increase in breast cell proliferation. When balanced by testosterone, the effect is even more protective of breast tissue.
Hormonal loss begins way before menopause
We tend to think of hormonal loss as happening at menopause. In reality, hormonal levels can start to fall off during a woman's late 30's and accelerate from there. This loss can be accompanied by night sweats, anxiety, irritability, depression, fatigue, loss of energy, menstrual headaches, poor focus and attention, loss of muscle tone, decreased exercise tolerance, osteoporosis, rising cholesterol levels, weight gain, dry skin, and cardiac dysfunction. Hormonal loss can be exacerbated by stress.
Aside from keeping you physically healthy, getting your hormones back into balance has some very positive side effects, such as feeling energized and vibrant, and having renewed interest in sex. Positive mood returns and women report feeling like their old selves again. Exercise produces positive results and weight loss becomes easier. The ability to concentrate and focus returns. You become a person that other people want to be around again.
Hormone replacement as nature intended
Estrogen, natural progesterone and the androgens including testosterone are not the enemies of women. They are the hormones made naturally by the body that keep women healthy and vibrant up until the time when production of them declines. It is then that women become subject to degenerative illness. These studies show that synthetic hormones drugs are the enemies of women. Synthetic hormones are foreign substances the body does not recognize and therefore builds resistance to. They must be detoxified by the liver. Synthetic hormones have undesirable side effects just like other drugs.
In order for hormone replacement to be effective and promote good health it needs to be done with hormones that are identical to those made naturally in the body. Bio-identical hormones are recognized by the body in the same manner as the hormones it produces. They are not perceived as foreign substances. There are no undesirable side effects, and the body does not try to rid itself of them by building resistance.
There is only one thing wrong with bio-identical hormone replacement. Since naturally occurring substances cannot be patented, there is little money to be made from them.
Why you don't hear about the benefits of hormone replacement
The propaganda campaign against estrogen and testosterone replacement has the usual motive. Since drug companies cannot patent bio-identical hormones, they have launched a media blitz to turn you against natural hormones including the ones you make in your body. This is so they can sell you something else that they can patent and that will make money for them.
Bio-identical hormones are available at very nominal cost. If you have had breast cancer and are prescribed one of the estrogen modulating drugs instead of bio-identical estrogen/testosterone replacement, the cost is much different. Arimidex sells online at a cost of $108 for 30. Aromasin goes for $460.59 for 150, and Femara's cost is $509.63 for 150.
Convincing you that natural hormone replacement is bad for you will also ensure that there are more women with breast cancer to treat with these expensive drugs. But it doesn't stop there. The next assault on women is the attempt to try to convince them that these sorts of drugs need to be taken before breast cancer strikes, as a preventative. The propaganda machine is already working overtime to get women into the idea that they should take Tamoxifen as a preventative drug. Tamoxifen is relatively cheap, but once women are convinced, expect it to be replaced with drugs bearing comparable price tags to Arimidex, Aromasin and Femera.
By the way, the undesirable side effects of Arimidex are weakness, mood changes, pain, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, depression, hot flashes, joint symptoms, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, swelling of arms and legs, headaches, and fractures of the spine, hip and wrist. There are no undesirable side effects to natural bio-identical hormones.
Learn more about testosterone at (http://www.naturalnews.com/022900.html)
About the authorBarbara is a school psychologist, a published author in the area of personal finance, a breast cancer survivor using "alternative" treatments, a born existentialist, and a student of nature and all things natural.
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