Does Hormone Therapy Cause Cancer?

Bottom line…NO! 

There is no medical evidence that natural, bio-identical hormone therapy in women and men will cause or induce cancer.

So, where does this myth or falsehood come from?

The problem arises from the use of synthetic or chemically altered hormones which have been shown to have deleterious effects including increasing cancer risk.

Allow us to clarify:

“Fear of breast cancer is the strongest factor limiting postmenopausal hormone use. The most powerful study to date definitively demonstrated that estrogen does not cause an increase risk for cancer. The increased risk was associated only with taking the progestin (Provera®) and not estrogen.” JAMA 2004;291(24): 2947-2958.

There is a drastic gap in communication between the hormone replacement therapy studies that have been conducted, and what’s been reported in the news. Synthetic hormones were used in the highly publicized Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) and are still in use and referred to in studies today. Many news articles and reports reference the WHI report because it was such a large/ highly funded study. These reports have been misleading consumers to believe that all types of hormone therapy are harmful. Let’s take a look at an example of this from a CNN report:

Synthetic vs. Bioidentical Mis-Communication

“In 2002, one arm of a large U.S. study – the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) – set out to confirm that hormone replacement therapy helps prevent heart disease. It was halted when it was discovered that women in the study taking estrogen plus progesterone actually had an increased risk for invasive breast cancer, blood clots, strokes and heart disease after about five years.  While combination hormones showed some benefits including reduced hip fractures and colon cancer, the researchers determined that “harm was greater than the benefit.”

Provera Is Now Banned

This article leads you to believe that hormone replacement therapy is bad, and can result several deleterious effects possibly leaving you with a great deal of trepidation towards seeking hormone therapy.  However, this is an excellent depiction of the miscommunication that takes place around hormone replacement therapy.  The author of this article writes that patients were provided “estrogen and progesterone” hormones. However, this is not necessarily correct. If we take the time to read the WHI study, we find that patients were not taking progesterone, but instead received a progestin called Provera.  In short, Provera has been banned in several countries for its carcinogenic (cancer causing) effects. Therefore, it is no wonder that the use of Provera resulted in an increased risk in breast cancer in this study.

Horse Urine

This CNN article also references estrogen, but does not inform the reader that the estrogen given, conjugated horse urine, is natural to horses and not humans. Last of all, Participants the WHI study were taking hormone replacement therapy orally.

Taking hormone replacement therapy orally can cause liver damage and increase the risk of stroke and blood clots, while other methods of delivery do not. Therefore, the results are much different from those of individuals taking natural bioidentical hormones with a different method of delivery. What we are really referring to is a matter of semantics. Terms such as bioidentical, estrogen, and progesterone are often lumped into categories when in actuality we are comparing very different items. This process of “generalizing” leads to the misinformation we see in the aforementioned CNN excerpt.

The WHI study can be summed up in three quotes from the journal of The Female Patient, Family Practice News, and Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.

”Because of the design flaws, the WHI trial should be discredited as it used only 2 synthetic hormones that were already known to be harmful. The positive effects of many different hormone methods studied over the last 50 years should not be discounted due to one poorly designed and flawed study (WHI) trial.” Female Patient 2004 Oct;Vol 29:40-46.

“North American Menopausal Society (NAMS) position statement: The WHI results do not apply to the majority of women. The WHI trial does not negate 40 years of study demonstrating HRT benefit. Five recent studies demonstrate overwhelming evidence that HRT prevents atherosclerosis.” Family Practice News 2003 Oct;1-2.

“Estradiol and progesterone demonstrated no increased risk of breast cancer. Synthetic estrogen (Premarin® ) and synthetic progestins (medroxyprogesterone and noresterone) all dramatically increased the risk of breast cancer. This was a ten-year study of over 100,000 women, the largest and longest study to date comparing natural hormones to synthetic hormones”. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2007;101:125-134.

Study Later Explained The Many Benefits Of Hormone Therapy

What’s even more surprising is that a second report from the WHI study, estrogen only hormone therapy, was later released, but not highly publicized? The results indicated that estrogen alone offered many beneficial results.

”In the final analysis of the estrogen only arm of the WHI; there was no increased risk of breast cancer or heart disease. There was a 35% decrease in hip fractures, 35% decrease in diabetes and a 60% decrease in urinary sepsis. This leads to a significant decrease in all causes of mortality. J Gen Internal Medicine 2004;19(7): 791-804

Estrogen, when administered appropriately in a bioidentical form, has been show to protect against heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, dementia, memory loss, vaginal atrophy, urinary incontinence, and osteoporotic fractures.  Individuals who fall and break their hip have a 50% chance of dying within the next two years!

“Estrogen deficiency greatly increases mortality from cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. Over 90% of women will die from cardiovascular disease which estrogen can prevent”. Over 40 years of study have well documented the cardiovascular protective effects of estrogen”. Obstet Gynecol 1996 Jan;87(1):6-12.

“The potential lethal consequences of osteoporosis are overwhelming. Estrogen is protective but only when certain serum levels are maintained.” Female Patient Oct. 2004;Vol. 29:40-46.

Bioidentical Estrogen Decreases The Risk Of Breast Cancer

Estrogen also prevents against hot flashes, temperature deregulation, urogenital atrophy, sagging skin and breasts, increased skin wrinkles on face, fatigue, depression, mood swings, and decreased libido.  Recent studies done with bioidentical estrogen hormones have even been shown to decrease the risk of breast cancer.

Hormone Therapy Mis-Representation

As  you can see, estrogen deficiency is detrimental to a women’s health and due to the misrepresentation in the media, millions of women have gone untreated and left to suffer the consequences. At Vitali-T Medical Clinics we believe that no individual should be left to suffer. We are dedicated to providing natural, bio-identical hormones and supplements that have gone through are proven to be safe and effective.

For more information on the topics discussed above, please reference our previous blogs and visit our resources page.  You may also contact Vitali-T Medical Clinics if you have any further questions or would like to find out if hormone replacement therapy is right for you.

 

 

History Of Bioidentical Hormones

Where Do Bioidentical Hormones Come From?

Over the past few weeks we’ve discussed bioidentical hormones, their make up, history, and methods of delivery. Today we will conclude our discussions on bioidentical hormones by taking a closer look at bioidentical hormones and compounding pharmacies.

As we discussed in our last blog, bioidentical hormones offer a range alternative to the synthetic hormone replacement found in the Women’s Health Initiative. Bioidentical hormones are derived from soy and yams and are extracted in a laboratory setting so that they may be administered in their various forms. Their chemical and molecular structure is identical to our own natural hormones, which makes them easier for the body to metabolize. This means that bioidentical hormones don’t have to be broken down in order to be utilized.  This leaves our bodies free from the waste products and other chemicals that result from the use of synthetic hormones.

Bioidentical hormone replacement (depending on the specific hormone) can offer relief from many of the negative side effects associated with aging.

Aging Symptoms Bioidentical Hormone Therapy Can Alleviate:

  • Decreased libido
  • Low bone density
  • Decreased metabolism
  • Lower energy/fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Low motivation
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Decreased ability to exercise
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • An overall lack of enjoyment in day-to-day activities

Bioidentical hormones can also have a profound positive impact on the cardiovascular system and protect against diabetes, cardiovascular disease, alzhemer’s, dementia, and even some forms of cancer. There is a great deal of research and literature to back these claims and show the efficacy of bioidentical hormone replacement. Much of this information can be found in our blogs and resources.

Since the popularity of bioidentical hormones, there has been a surge of FDA approved medications. There is even an FDA approved 75mg testosterone pellet called Testopel®.

Even though there has been a gradual increase in the number of pharmaceuticals companies offering bioidentical hormone therapy, many formulations still come from compounding pharmacies. Compounding pharmacies existed well before the pharmaceutical companies that we are familiar with today. It was during this time that a patient would get a prescription and take it to a compounding pharmacist who would use a mortar and pestle to concoct the right formulation.

Although compounding pharmacies have changed over the last hundred years or so, they are still utilized by medical professionals and patients today. Compounding pharmacies are used most often when specific formulations of a medication are needed. Maybe a patient needs to take a medication in a different form or maybe a patient needs a specific combination of medications not found through pharmaceutical companies. No matter what the reason is, the general idea is the say; medication are made to fit the individuals specific needs.

It’s somewhat analogous to buying custom clothing. If you were to buy a wedding dress, or for men, a suit; would you just grab one size and hope it fits?  In most cases, it’s not as simple as one size fits all. Unless you like playing russian roulette, it would be wise to get your dress,or suit tailored to your individual needs; and the same goes for hormone replacement. Compounding pharmacies offer this individual specification by tailoring their prescriptions to the patients needs.

However, along with the rising popularity of compounding pharmacies, there has subsequently come an increase in attacks. Those arguing against compounding pharmacies say that they do not have the proper oversight and that the consumer cannot be sure what they are receiving. Interestingly enough, many of these arguments come from individuals who hold compounding pharmacies in high regard for the many other services which we listed above. Now this is not to say that their concerns are not all valid. In fact, it is likely that the truth falls somewhere in the middle. Like with most things in life it is not all good or all bad. As a consumer it is important for you to do your research and seek out a reputable physician who uses a well-known compounding pharmacy.

The debate between Pharmaceutical and Compounding Pharmacies is likely to continue as bioidentical hormone therapy grows in popularity. Whether or not compounding pharmacies or pharmaceutical companies become the “go to” for bioidentical hormone replacement therapy remains to be seen. However, one thing is for certain; bioidentical hormones have provided relief from many age related symptoms and offer hope for those looking to ward off the negative effects of aging.

For more information on whether or not hormone replacement therapy is right for you please contact Vitali-T Medical Clinics, and stay tuned to our future blogs.

 

Be Careful Who Administers Your Hormone Therapy

Testosterone therapy can be a very powerful tool in helping people to live their lives to the fullest. However, if used incorrectly, hormone therapy of any kind can have very negative consequences.

There are hormone therapy clinics opening across the country that, while they may have a Medical Director, allow non-medically trained staff to actually administer the hormone pellets. This may save the patient a few extra dollars, but greatly increases the risk of negative side effects due to improper pellet placement, wrong dosage levels and other careless mistakes. Side effects from these mistakes may include (but are not limited to) liver toxicity, fertility problems, sleep apnea, prostate growth and even having the body reject the pellets all together.

This is why Vitali-T is proud to have only licensed medical doctors administer our testosterone therapies.