Hormone regimens and breast cancer

I cannot respect a researcher that forces women to endure the bleak existence of profound hypogonadism unnecessarily. A recent article on msnbc.com titled:

Study firmly ties hormone use to breast cancer

describes how hormone use is unhealthy and increases a woman's risk of breast cancer.

Do all hormone regimens really lead to increased breast cancer? Of course not.

This was my online response to such sloppy academic conclusions:

The hormone pill, Premarin, creates unnatural hormone levels which is why it is unhealthy. The Women's Health Initiative was not a trial of ovarian hormone replacement which may explain why the women were not monitored for under or overdosing of the hormonal medication they received.

Profound hypogonadism, which is the medical name for menopause, is the illness that increases the risk of breast cancer in women. Replacing all of the ovarian hormones to normal levels improves overall health and prevents the increased risk of breast cancer brought on by ovarian failure.

Appropriate hormone replacement is healthy. Premarin is not and this distinction should be made so women can be properly treated.

Beth Rosenshein

Diamond Research Foundation

The following doctors commented on this study and recommended that women forgo effective treatment for their profound hypogonadism:

  • Dr. Rowan Chlebowski of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center

  • Dr. C. Kent Osborne, a breast cancer specialist at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

  • Dr. JoAnn Manson, preventive medicine chief at Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston

  • Dr. Peter Ravdin of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston

The study that they are referring to used Premarin, a hormonal medication not designed to replace ovarian hormone levels. It is irresponsible to not tell this to the public and to mislead them into thinking that treatment for profound hypogonadism is not available. The real question here is "Why push women into not appropriately treating their profound hypogonadism unnecessarily?"

Breast cancer is preventable when you treat the number one risk factor, profound hypogonadism brought on by ovarian failure. Your gonadal hormones helped prevent breast cancer when your ovaries were still working and replacing gonadal hormones will continue to protect you from breast cancer after the ovaries have failed.

The number two risk factor for getting breast cancer is a doctor who is unwilling to treat the root cause of the increased risk you face as you get older, chronic, profound hypogonadism or untreated menopause.

If your doctor is not supportive of treatment then ask these questions:

  1. Are you going to treat my profound hypogonadism and if not, why not? Untreated profound hypogonadism is the number one risk factor for breast cancer and I'd like to reduce my risk with effective treatment.

  2. Are you using ovarian hormone replacement and if not, why not? I have profound hypogonadism and have an increased risk of beast cancer because of it. I need effective treatment so I can reduce my risk of breast cancer brought on by ovarian failure.

  3. Why are you using the results of the Women's Health Intiative when it has nothing to do with ovarian hormone replacement and the illness that you are treating me for, profound hypogonadism? I want to reduce my risk of breast cancer by treating my illness, profound hypogonadism, not increase it by using Premarin.

Women are unnecessarily left to risk their health because of misleading and inaccurate data from deeply flawed research like the Women's Health Initiative. You can improve your healt
12/15/2008 9:44:39 PM
Beth Rosenshein
Written by Beth Rosenshein
Beth Rosenshein is an electrical/bio-medical engineer and is very familiar with medical research. She holds two United States patents, one for a unique design of a vaginal speculum, and one for a clever urinary collection device specifically designed for women. Beth discovered and documented an important drug interaction...
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Dear SusanR, You are quite right that we must educate ourselves. As you point out, many doctors, though willing, are ill-equipped to treat these illnesses because of lack of training and experience. Doctors are often behind on current information because they are not given it by their medical societies or medical journals. Something as basic as the medical names for peri-menopause, hypogonadism, and menopause, profound hypogonadism, eludes most practitioners. The more women that use the medical name for these medical conditions, the sooner healthcare practitioners will begin to recognize that these are real illnesses that respond to effective treatment. About 2 years ago I was talking to a representative of the National Institute of Aging who was responsible for publications on menopause. I asked her why the medical name for menopause, profound hypogonadism, was not included in any of their literature. Her response was acerbic and curt, “When women talk about having hypogonadism over coffee then that’s when we’ll call it hypogonadism”! The time is now. Make a difference in how the world looks at menopause. Call menopause by its real name, profound hypogonadism, and make it clear that it is an illness and it is treatable. Thanks, Beth “Making effective treatment for hypogonadism available to all women”
Posted by Beth Rosenshein
As consumers of medical treatment and wellness it seems we are pretty much on our own. It is up to us to educate ourselves in order to make informed decisions regarding our healthcare. Medicine and wellness is in such a progressive state right now that many doctors are not abreast of current information, confined to old methodologies and practices. The FDA is guilty of this as well. Adding to that, the pressure of drug and food manufacturer lobbyists and the American patient takes quite a hit. I would also like to mention the challenge of finding a competent doctor to prescribe bio identical hormone replacement (which saved me). It is not an easy task. Many doctors who have hopped aboard the bio identical bandwagon are under-educated and inexperienced. My own doctor, Dr. Prudence Hall, in Santa Monica, is quite capable but suffers a burgeoning patient load preventing her from providing satisfactory care to all her patients. Plus, beware of $$$ mongers in this industry. I have since found another doctor, but that's another blog.
Posted by SusanR
You make a very good point. For a long time the maker of Premarin has known that it is not a healthy treatment for women. In fact, in 1980 the manufacturer of Premarin asked a group of doctors in England to measure the hormone levels of some of the over 200 hormones contained in Premarin. What they found were extremly high, unnatural, levels of these hormones. Soon after this study, these doctors submitted a letter to the editor of The Lancet, a large medical journal in Britain. They said that the makers of Premarin were aware of these unnatural, unhealthy levels of hormones and had begun advertising to doctors to limit the use of Premarin. But that is not what happened. Instead of limiting the use of Premarin, just 12 years later Premarin was being used in the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) and being touted as HRT or hormone replacement therapy for menopause and the women in the WHI were given Premarin and expected to be on it for 15 years. Not surprisingly, no hormone monitoring at all was done in the WHI because this would have made public the unnatural and unhealthy hormone levels created by taking Premarin and how completely inappropriate and unhealhty it is as a treatment for menopause. In my opinion the WHI was one of the cruelest clincial trials in history. Women were recruited with the promise of HRT when it was well known that Premarin does not even remotely replace ovarian hormones. Since the end of the WHI Premarin is now also called HT (hormone therapy)and MHT (menopausal hormone therapy). The fact that Premarin is still on the market and is called HRT, HT, MHT shows a fundamendal disrespect for women, their overall health and their contribution to our society.
Posted by Beth Rosenshein
I was a user of Premarin for over 8 years after a medical hysterectomy. It seems the medication recommended was not a viable alternative,but with hysterectomies, are there alternatives? Indeed, Premarin may have been the cause of my breast cancer, diagnosed this year. If prescribing doctors knew the high probabilities of breast cancer in long term use of Permarin, why was it prescribed at all? An alternative that causes a deadly disease is not an alternative, and the decision for its use should not have been left to the patient, even if informed. As a parallel, informed smokers are now not able to smoke at all in some states, but informed women can still choose a medication that can kill them.
Posted by LMCinci
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