Should Breast Cancer Survivors take Hormones?By Alane Palmer, ND, CNC, and Annah Gillette

If you’ve had breast cancer, most doctors will automatically say you cannot take HRT (also called MHT, or menopausal hormone therapy, and sometimes ERT, or estrogen replacement therapy).

Many doctors consider HRT risky because estrogen can stimulate the growth of breast cells—both healthy cells and cancerous ones. So most doctors feel HRT may increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer recurring or of her developing a new breast cancer.

“Breast cancer survivors should not take hormone therapy because we still know way too little about its effect [on cancer recurrence],” says Eva von Schoultz, Ph.D.

“The hope is that our new findings will stimulate discussion and research about whether certain types of hormone therapy are safe for this group of women.”

Hormone therapy with estrogen alone in women who have had hysterectomies — or estrogen plus progestin in those who haven’t — is considered to be the best treatment for hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause.

Hormone therapy expert Rowan T. Chlebowski, MD, tells WebMD there is growing evidence that short-term treatment with estrogen alone may be safe for breast cancer survivors. But he too says it is too soon to recommend any hormone therapy for this high-risk group. The only exception, he says, is women whose hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms are so severe that they are willing to take the risk.

In an editorial accompanying the study, the UCLA oncologist and reproductive biologist called for more studies to clarify the role of estrogen and progestin in promoting breast cancer.

“For breast cancer survivors, current evidence supports non-hormone-based interventions for [menopausal] symptom control in most circumstances,” he writes. “The possibility that use of estrogen alone in symptomatic breast cancer survivors with a hysterectomy may represent an option with a favorable risk/benefit balance warrants further clinical attention.”

Nutrition plays such a vital part in our body’s hormonal responses; it is prudent to get on top of handling your nutrition so that hormones are functioning as optimally as possible.

So just to give you an idea of exactly what hormones are affected by our nutrition, let me name a few.
Growth Hormones

Stunning TV star and health promoter Suzanne Somers still turns heads wherever she goes. She holds onto her youthful beauty and enthusiasm at age 68, thanks to hormone therapy.

“I think it’s the new way to age,” she announced on her website, praising bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT). “Thanks to BHRT I enjoy robust health, balanced hormones, strong bones, and the energy of someone half my age.”

If hormone therapy is something that you are looking at consult with a medical professional who can look at the whole picture. Understanding your comprehensive hormone levels give you a clear view of what is going on in your body.

We can test your saliva before you start taking any hormones to double-check your levels because what shows up in the blood may be different than what shows up in your tissues, which indicates tissue level of hormones. Estrogen may be low in the blood but excessively high in the saliva, which may help you make that important decision you may need to make.

Get answers to your hormone levels with a saliva hormone test!

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Medical disclaimer: Our test kits cannot be used to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. All test results are to be used as educational materials and as a guide to help support your overall health and wellness. Always discuss health concerns with your medical doctor.