I am 48 years old and was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer (estrogen & progestrone positive) and have completed treatment a couple of months ago. I also had my ovaries removed due to cysts and endometriosis and am now suffering horrible hot flashes, night sweats, insomina, etc. I also just had a bone density and am close to osteoporosis. I am afraid to take arimidix since it causes bone loss. I want to take bioidentical hormones but my oncologist is against it. Has anyone with hormone receptor positive breast cancer taken bioidentical hormones? What are your thoughts?
Louise is correct. By taking the hormones (bioidentical or otherwise), you would be "feeding" your body with the very fuel your type of tumor needs to grow, or recur....
Even if you were taking a hormone suppressing drug such as tamoxifen or an aromatase inhibitor, you would be acting at cross purposes with it by taking the hormones.
This is your decision to make, but it needs to be based on a full understanding of the risks and benefits, so maybe you should dig more deeply into the subject with your onco, if you are not willing to take the advice just based on his/her expertise.
You are very wise to be asking this question. Respectfully I have to disagree with the others and with your doctor's advice. This is because I work at a health & wellness center and am well educated on the symptoms of low progesterone and the benefits of natural bioidentical progesterone. Common symptoms of low progesterone are heavy periods, clotting with your periods, menstrual cramps, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, and fibrocystic breasts, mood swings before your cycle, premenstrual headaches, bloating, infertility, osteopenia/osteoporosis, low libido and premenstrual breast tenderness. You have symptoms of low progesterone. It is likely that your low levels of progesterone or "estrogen dominance" lead to your breast cancer. The hormones our body makes are not bad for us. God gave them to us, but sometimes they get out of balance and the IMBALANCE of your hormones LEADS TO CANCER, NOT THE HORMONES. In other words it is likely that you had too much estrogen IN PROPORTION to your progesterone or again low progesterone. This condition is known as estrogen dominance and is common in women in midlife. (You also now have symptoms of low estrogen (hot flashes, night sweats and insomnia) likely due to the ovaries being removed. So now it sounds like you have low progesterone and low estrogen.
If you want to dig more deeply (and you should) I would recommend that you do it with a medical doctor who is versed in bioidentical hormones, not an oncologist who likely is not. John Lee, M.D. wrote a book called "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer." I recommend this to all women who have or have had breast cancer and really all women should read it. A doctor who is a bioidentical hormone expert would likely recommend natural progesterone for you and a low dose of natural estrogen. Natural estrogen is safe if you balance it by taking natural progesterone. No one should ever take natural estrogen without also taking natural progesterone to balance it.
Another good book is called "Hormones, Health & Happiness" by Steven Hotze, M.D. I hope all of this helps. I hate to see women like you suffer with these symptoms when it is safe for you to take natural hormones and resolve your symptoms.
Hi Sally: you are so right, Hormones are necessary, we need a balance.
Thanks so much for the reference and your answer to lenore518. Also , my gratitude
to bluebutterfly, Louise, Souzy, for their support. I am well and kicking, managing my cancer.!!!
I am so happy to know that you are well and keeping a positive and optimistic attitude.
What Bluebutterfly has suggested in all of her comments about
the"bioidentical"hormone isTRUE and so many of us think the same.
Be well and happy alidi....
Thanks everyone for your comments on BHRT. The following comment is my own after reading several books and doing extensive research. I am not a doctor. I now feel it is safe to take progesterone (and potentially other hormones - not estrogen) to relieve signs of menopause and potentially counteract estrogen. I wish I had started prog. years ago. I think doctors should test women in their early 40s and look at their hormone levels. I think an inbalance can cause a lot of problems including breast cancer. I had my ovaries removed due to endometrosis and ovarian cysts. I probably could have been treated with a combo of natural hormones versus surgery. I don't think the traditional medical communtiy has seriously considered the impact of hormones on women. I am meeting with a doctor this week to start hormones. I have decided not to move forward with Arimidix. I just hope my oncologist will support my decision and continue to treat me. I wish I had done this research years ago.
Here is some additional info regarding "Bioidentical HRT:
"In January of 2008 the FDA sent warnings to a number of large compounders of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) products, expressing concern about these manufacturers' claims about the safety, effectiveness, and superiority of their products. In that same memo, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned about the use of estriol, a weak estrogen that has not been approved by the FDA for use in any product. Nevertheless, countless Websites, celebrities, other individuals, and pharmacies continue to make claims about BHRT. The FDA considers the term BHRT a marketing term.
There are several issues about which clinicians should be aware. First of all, compounded products do not come with the class labeling that is mandated for any other menopausal hormone product, including warnings, black box, and other information. The absence of this label places on clinicians the burden of describing to the patient and documenting all these warnings. Second, there is no guarantee of the contents or purity of the compounded products. There is not enough oversight by the FDA to inspect all compounding pharmacies to determine if their products contain what they claim to contain.
Overall, there are no studies that demonstrate the superiority of any hormone product over another -- compounded or not."
Thank you Bluebutterfly for this all ""IMPORTANT"" information.
Women,including me,who are taking Arimidex or Tamixofen or any other "anti estrogen" pills have to really get accurate information, like you haven given us, before deciding to take BHRT instead of Arimidex or other life saving medication that are approved by the FDA and proven to cut by 50% the development of a new or recurrent cancer.
Thanks again BB..for researching this eye opening and excellent information!
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