When it comes to BHRT, women are most concerned that if they do hormone therapy they increase their risk of breast cancer. This simply isn’t true — which I’ll explain in this article — but the scariest aspect of this particular myth is that even physicians buy into it to some degree. Let’s dig in and start myth busting.
All of the fear regarding BHRT and breast cancer can be traced back to 2002, when The Women’s Health Initiative released results of a study they conducted on hormone therapy. Its skewed results were blasted across all the newspapers and unfortunately is still plaguing us today. Important note: It was and IS a bogus study. Let me tell you a bit about it.
This was a large government study which had about 15,000 women in it and the test subjects were taking two specific hormone therapy products: Premarin and Prempro. Premarin is the conjugated horse urine estrogen and Prempro is the conjugated horse estrogen plus Provera, which is a terrible synthetic progesterone that’s highly toxic to the body.
It’s important to note that unless your doctor doesn’t know what they’re doing, these products are no longer used. They are old, they are synthetic, and they don’t even come close to mimicking the molecular hormones our body makes. The bottom line is this: Even if the data from the study was legit — which it was not — it has nothing to do with the Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Treatment you may be considering.
The study suggested that if you were taking Prempro, you would increase your risk of breast cancer by 26 percent. That number is horrifying…. especially so if it were accurate. But it is important to realize that the the statistics have been manipulated to make it sound as bad as possible.
First, the raw numbers indicated that only eight more women (out of 10,000) developed breast cancer. If you hear eight out of 10,000, you go, “Well that’s not so bad.” But if you hear 26 percent, most women are going to instantly think one in four women opting for hormone therapy are going to get breast cancer and that’s not actually truthful.
So, the numbers have been skewed and there’s something else about the study you should know. When looking at taking Premarin alone — according to this same 2002 study — it actually decreased the breast cancer risk by 23 percent. This information was In the original data set, but nobody ever talked about it so you had two conflicting information sources.
So if you take all of this information in total we come down to two important facts. First, we don’t use these products anymore and the BHRT you’re considering are worlds away from Premarin and Prempro. Second, if you were going to use those products — which I would advise against — at the very worst you’re going to have a neutral risk for breast cancer and at the very best you might actually decrease your breast cancer risk.
Unfortunately, this never really came through in the media and the skewed reports and numbers are still manipulated in the media today. Here’s what you need to know. If you look at other formats and others data sets, other studies — as I have and do — the bio-identical hormones have never really shown an increase in breast cancer.
The fear comes from this original study and again it was bad products and the data was highly manipulated. But this is just the thumbnail sketch of the whole story. If you’re considering BHRT, and afraid of the supposed link to breast cancer, set up an appointment and let’s discuss it in more detail.
Need an appointment? Call 480.619.4097.