This article is by Catherine Rollins of www.natural-progesterone-advisory-network.com World-wide about 1,670,000 women have breast cancer. In North America, a woman dies of breast cancer every 12 minutes!
Your risk of surviving malignant breast cancer is just about the same as it was 50 years ago, when the only treatment was mastectomy; about one in three. The incidence of breast cancer is steadily rising and the numbers are appalling. Between 1973-1998 the incidence of breast cancer rose by over 40%.
Ovarian cancer is particularly scary because by the time it's detectable, in 70 to 80 percent of women it has already spread to other parts of the body and thus has a high mortality rate. It accounts for nearly 20 percent of gynecologic cancers, and it ranks fifth in cancer fatalities in women. Most ovarian cancer occurs in menopausal women around the age of fifty.
Uterine cancer, also known as endometrial cancer, is not as common as ovarian cancer. Generally, endometrial cancer develops during the pre-menopausal years when high levels of estrogen and low levels of progesterone are present. The only known cause of endometrial cancer is unopposed estrogen. Cancer of the cervix is the second most common cancer in women worldwide and is a leading cause of cancer-related death in women in underdeveloped countries. Worldwide, approximately 500,000 cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed each year.
Oral contraceptives have been linked to both endometrial and cervical cancers.
Prostate problems are the fastest-growing health concern among men in Western countries, and the rate of prostate cancer is increasing steadily.
The initiation of normal cells turning into cancer cells is the same for both the breast or uterus and the prostate gland. In these organs, cancer initiation is due primarily to estrogen dominance combined with lifestyle factors and/or toxic insults that predispose estrogen to become oxidised.
The incidence of prostate cancer increases with age. The majority of men in the US will acquire prostate cancer if they live beyond 65. It is a slow-growing cancer (more rapidly growing in younger men, however). For men over 65, the doubling time of a prostate cancer nodule is usually about 5 years. Compare this with the doubling time of a breast cancer nodule, which is about 3 to 4 months. If left untreated, prostate cancer tends to eventually metastasize to bones.
Some of the risk factors for cancer, such as race, age, and family history, are out of your control, so the bottom line in minimizing your risk of cancer is to lead a healthy lifestyle, use your common sense, and avoid excess estrogen, whether it be from pesticides, synthetic HRT, or oral contraceptives.
What is estrogen dominance?
How do we become 'estrogen dominant'? All too often our food chain is laced with toxic pesticides, herbicides and growth hormones – a sea of endocrine-disrupting chemicals that mimic estrogen in our body. If we are overweight, our body’s store of excess fat can be converted into estrogen. Insulin resistance leads to estrogen dominance. A visit to our GP for the odd hot flash, missed period or PMS discomfort can result in a prescription of estrogen pills, patches or implants.
And yet unopposed estrogen in our bodies results in all sorts of hormone-related health problems such as PMS, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, infertility, weight gain, increased blood clotting, thyroid dysfunction, even cancer, in both men and women.
Our men-folk are equally at risk. Estrogen gradually rises as men age, while saliva levels of progesteorne and testosterone gradually falling. Thus, with aging, estrogen dominance occurs. A clear sign of estrogen dominance in aging men is their tendency to develop breasts. This indicates these men are low in progesterone and testosterone.
The evidence against estrogen is stacking up
According to Dr Cavalieri, Professor at the Eppley Institute for Research in Cancer and Allied Diseases at the University of Nebraska Medical Centre in Omaha Nebraska, he and his team are at the brink of discovering that almost all the important human cancers that we get in Western civilisation, have the same origin, which is estrogen.
Estrogens, according to Dr Cavalieri, are initiators and promoters of cancer.
They are initiators because they form cancer-causing agents, by metabolising in a specific way. After that they promote cancer via these receptor-mediates processes that increase cell proliferation.
All the evidence, according to Dr Cavbalieri, implicated estrogens (including the natural hormones estradiol and estrone), as a major cause of breast cancer [National Cancer Institute Monograph #27, Oxford University Press]. Therefore, if you use progesterone cream and avoid having extra estrogen in the body, you avoid the initiating process.
Friend or foe
Just as there is no one apple called apple, there is no one estrogen named estrogen. The word estrogen refers to a class of THREE estrogens as follows:
Among the three major natural estrogens, estradiol is the most stimulating to breast tissue, estrone is second, and estriol by far the least. And since all estrogens compete for the same receptor sites, it is probable that sufficient estriol impedes the carcinogenic effects of estradiol and/or estrone.
Low levels of estriol relative to estradiol and estrone appear to correlate with increased risk of breast cancer, while higher levels of estriol from endocrine treatment correlate with remission of cancer.
It is now believed that the two major hormones present throughout pregnancy - progesterone and estriol - could may well offer protection against breast cancer.
The most insidious of the endocrine disruptors (EDs) are man-made synthetic chemicals. We are routinely exposed to them in most areas of our daily lives at home, work and play.
Known and suspected EDs come in things we have been led to believe have been thoroughly tested for the safety of our health and environment. These types of products include
- dental sealants
- pharmaceuticals such as birth control pills
- clear plastic baby bottles, and some water bottles
The list of goes on to include many chemicals in plastics (PVC, polystyrene aka Styrofoam, and others) and pesticides (Monsanto's Roundup and many others).
A few heavy metals are included - arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury. Other known EDs are the 209 PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl), 75 dioxins, and 135 furans.
The creation can be intentional and/or as byproducts of industrial processes such as the production of paper that uses chlorine bleaching, as well as the incineration of chlorine containing products such as PVC burned in incinerators, residential backyard barrels, or accidentally in building fires.
PVC is made into toys, teethers, clothing, raincoats, shoes, building products such as windows, siding, roofing, and flooring. Other uses are for hospital blood bags, IV bags, tubing and other medical devices. Polystyrene, another ED, is made into food containers for meats, fish, cheeses, yogurt, foam and clear clamshell containers, foam and rigid plates, clear bakery containers, packaging "peanuts", foam packaging, audio cassette housings, CD cases, disposable cutlery.
Other specific EDs are oil refining, burning coal and oil for energy, all car and truck exhaust, cigarette smoke.
Chemical manufacturers claim that the scientists who urge caution with regards to EDs are but hysterical sensationalists. Something they like to scare us with is that ending production of these toxic chemicals would take jobs away from people. They also say that because only animal tests have been done, no proof exists that humans are being affected as other animals are. But through studies of industrial workers' health and accidents enough has been learned to strongly implicate EDs. When industry gets really scared they debunk any negative claim as being 'junk science."
What you can do to avoid endocrine disruptors
Always question yourself before buying, "Do I really need this product?" If you really need it, then ask, "What can I use that's less toxic?"
- Don't smoke or drink alcohol. Especially when pregnant. It can cause permanent damage to you and the unborn child.
- Don't use lawn chemicals or any pesticides. Especially when pregnant. Don't even think of being near them. Lawns are healthier without them.
- Don't use makeup, hair sprays & coloring products or nail polish Especially when pregnant. Enjoy your own body and not the image that the media says you should want.
- Avoid using strong chemicals, glues, paints, nail polish and remover, floor & carpet cleaners.
- Get rid of all those name brands and use earth friendly products spareingly. If you must use chemicals then wear industrial quality, gloves, eye protection and a mask with filters approved for each chemical being used. Once again… definitely NOT when your pregnant!
- Don't heat food or eat hot food in plastic containers, even the ones frozen dinners now come in. This includes Teflon coated cookware.
- Chemicals from the plastic can be ingested with the food and could cause great problems for the unborn and you.
- Purchase fresh organic produce, meats and milk free from rBGH