1.1 The Elephant In The Room - Don't Hormones Cause Breast Cancer?
There's An Elephant In The Room
Anytime I start talking about hormones, especially hormones that might be used to help women with menopause symptoms, there's always an elephant in the room. That elephant is the huge concern that everyone has, but fear keeps us from talking out loud about it.
Hormones Cause Breast Cancer
There's little argument against the conventional wisdom that says "hormones cause breast cancer." Most women and many doctors have simply taken this simple statement as fact.
The Truth About Hormones
You don't really have to dig far to discover the truth about hormones.
The truth about hormones is that we all have them, all of our lives. Hormones are chemical messengers that send thousands of messages throughout our bodies, telling various cells to do this and go there, regulating our body's systems and functions.
Hormones are absolutely essential for the functioning of your body. When estrogen and progesterone, the two primary sex hormones found in human females, decline at around age 50, everything starts to go to Hell in a handbag. Curiously, the incidence of breast cancer actually increases dramatically after age 50. The very time when your hormones stop being produced is the time when you're more likely to have difficulties with breast cancer.
Here's the main thing to remember about hormones and breast cancer, from someone who knows a bit about both:
In this program, my desire is to help you develop a deeper understanding about the role hormones play in your menopause symptoms and your health. I'm here to help give you clarity and confidence about hormones, where you may have had confusion and fear before. I'm really looking forward to sharing this crucial information with you.
I want to help you understand that the risk of breast cancer is related to several different factors, the most important one being the levels of several hormones in your system. The idea that "hormones cause breast cancer" is way too simplistic of a statement that doesn't really capture the truth. It's a statement that scares a lot of women, but doesn't have to.
Breast Cancer Is About Genetics
The truth is that breast cancer is primarily caused by genetics. A genetic mutation is a change in your DNA, deep inside the nucleus of your cells. It's on a level that's way too small for any microscope to see. That genetic mutation makes one woman more susceptible than another to breast cancer.
In addition to genetic mutations, there are many environmental factors that can contribute or "tip the scales" one way or another in favor of or against breast cancer.
Protect Yourself From Breast Cancer
There's no absolute, sure-fire, 100% guaranteed approach that will always prevent a woman from getting breast cancer. But there are several things you can do that can stack the deck in your favor, protecting you from the horrible consequences that come from breast cancer. The single most important thing you can do is to have your hormones optimized to levels that are not too high, not too low, but just right.
The single most important hormone you need to have evaluated is progesterone. It's also important to have optimal levels of estradiol (the most important estrogen), melatonin (a hormone that's involved with sleep), Vitamin D (a vitamin that's also a hormone), and testosterone (a hormone both men and woman benefit from).
We'll talk more extensively about this throughout the program.
Can You Take Hormones If You've Had Breast Cancer?
I get asked that question occasionally. The answer isn't cut and dried.
However, in many cases hormone optimization is possible even after breast cancer.
This is a situation where it's extremely important to speak with a healthcare practitioner who really knows what they're doing with hormones. An experienced, trained hormone optimization specialist who has dealt with breast cancer survivors before can assess the specifics of your situation and recommend the best course of action.