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Why Does Estrogen Cause Breast Cancer

Drugs That Lower Estrogen Levels

Ask The Doctor with Urologist Dr. Bryan Kansas – Does estrogen cause breast cancer?

Some drugs, called aromatase inhibitors , stop the body from making estrogen in tissues such as fat and skin. But, these drugs do not work to make the ovaries stop making estrogen. For this reason, they are used mainly to lower estrogen levels in women who have been through menopause . Their ovaries no longer make estrogen.

Premenopausal women can take AIs if they are also taking drugs that stop their ovaries from making estrogen.

Aromatase inhibitors include:

  • Exemestane

What Is The Link Between Estrogen And Breast Cancer

About 8 out of 10 breast cancers are hormone receptor-positive. These cancers need estrogen, progesterone or both hormones to grow. Excess exposure to estrogen raises cancer risk. Excess exposure can occur because of:

  • Hormone replacement therapies for menopause.
  • Naturally high estrogen levels.
  • Klinefelter syndrome, a genetic condition affecting men.

In the past, some men took estrogen to treat prostate cancer. Healthcare providers rarely use this treatment now because it increases the risk of male breast cancer.

Risk Factors You Can Control

Weight. Being overweight is associated with increased risk of breast cancer, especially for women after menopause. Fat tissue is the bodys main source of estrogen after menopause, when the ovaries stop producing the hormone. Having more fat tissue means having higher estrogen levels, which can increase breast cancer risk.

Diet. Studies are looking at the relationship between diet and breast cancer riskand the risk of recurrence. The Women’s Health Initiative Trial suggested thata diet very low in fat may reduce the risk of breast cancer. More research isneeded in this important area for women who are interested in eating well toreduce their risk of ever getting breast cancer.

In the meantime, here’s whatdietitians suggest:

  • Keep your body weight in a healthy range for your height and frame. Body mass index, though not a perfect measurement, can help you estimate your healthy weight.
  • Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit .
  • Try to limit your saturated fat intake to less than 10% of your total calories per day and limit your fat intake to about 30 grams per day.
  • Eat foods high in omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Avoid trans fats, processed meats, and charred or smoked foods.

You’ll find that processed foods generally don’tfit in this type of diet as well as fresh foods do. For more information, visit our page on healthy eating to reduce risk of breast cancer in the Nutrition section.

Smoking. Smoking is associated with a small increase in breast cancer risk.

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Hormones And Cancer: What’s The Link

Hormones can affect your weight, your body temperature and your cancer risk.

Hormones have a lot of power. They are the tiny chemicals that tell your body right down to the cells what to do. They determine everything from how big you will grow, to how you process food, to how your immune system works.

Hormones can affect your weight, your body temperature and even your mood. They can also have an impact on your cancer risk, says Therese Bevers, M.D., medical director of MD Andersons Cancer Prevention Center.

When people hear the word hormone, they think of estrogen and progesterone, and their effects on female cancers, Bevers says. But there are several other hormones that have an impact on your risk of cancer throughout the body.

Making the connection between hormones and cancer

Whats the link between hormones and cancer risk? It has a lot to do with cells multiplying.

And the more your cells divide and multiply, the more chance there is for something to go wrong and for cancer to develop.

There are several things that can affect your hormones, including medications, chronic inflammation and medical conditions like obesity. For other factors, like toxins and diet, the link to cancer risk is less clear.

Birth control pills

Birth control pills control fertility with doses of the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. They may lower the risk for ovarian and endometrial cancers. But they increase the risk for breast and cervical cancer slightly.

Diet

Previous Breast Cancer Or Lump

The Truth About Progesterone and Breast Cancer

If you have previously had breast cancer or early non-invasive cancer cell changes in breast ducts, you have a higher risk of developing it again, either in your other breast or in the same breast.

A benign breast lump does not mean you have breast cancer, but certain types of breast lumps may slightly increase your risk of developing cancer.

Some benign changes in your breast tissue, such as cells growing abnormally in ducts , or abnormal cells inside your breast lobes , can make getting breast cancer more likely.

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Estrogen And Breast Cancer

The molecular form for one type of estrogenA female sex hormone that is primarily produced by the ovaries. Its primary function is to regulate the menstrual cycle and assist in the production of secondary sex characteristics such as breasts. It may even play a role in the production of cancer cells in the breast tissue. called estriol. High levels of estrogen in the body have been shown to be a risk factorAnything that increases or decreases a persons chance of developing a disease. for breast cancer.

High estrogen levels in the body are believed to dramatically increase our risk of breast cancer. It is therefore worth understanding what estrogen is and how you can control your estrogen level at the same time as other breast cancer risk factors.

Exogenous Oestrogens And Breast Cancer

In the past 50 years, exposure to exogenous oestrogens from a variety of sources has become increasingly common, particularly from hormonal preparations for use as contraceptives or to combat the symptoms of the menopause. Hormonal contraception, using oestrogens and progestins in various forms and doses, is now one of the most widely used forms of contraception, being taken by 200 million women worldwide in 1996 . Similarly, the prescription of hormone replacement therapy for older women, containing oestrogens with or without progestins, has become common. In Britain, for example, 33% of women aged 5064 are current users . Given the high prevalence of exposure to these exogenous oestrogens, even small associated increases in risk for breast cancer could have a substantial effect on the incidence of breast cancer.

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Estrogen And Breast Cancer Risk

Estradiol, and possibly estrone, increase the risk of developing breast cancer. And a lower level of these estrogens throughout a woman’s lifetime is associated with a lower risk of developing breast cancer.

Factors such as pregnancy and breastfeeding alter estrogen levels in ways that are believed to have a protective effect. Having a first child before the age of 30, having more children, and breastfeeding are all associated with a lower risk of breast cancer. This is due to the reduced production of estrogens during pregnancy and lactation .

Because oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapies contain estrogen, there is a small potential they may increase the risk of breast cancer for some women.

While we know that estrogen receptor-positive breast cancers are worsened by estrogen, other breast cancer types typically are also more common among women who have had a higher lifetime exposure to estrogen.

New Research Again Links Increased Breast Cancer Risk To Longer Use Of Hormone Therapy

Which Cancer is CAUSED by Estrogen? Uterine or Breast? – 102

The link between hormone therapy and breast cancer has been recognized for years. But an analysis published Aug. 29, 2019, in The Lancet has added some additional information to the discussion. The analysis looked at 58 studies that included information on the type and timing of hormone use in individual women, and their body mass index. Researchers began gathering the studies in 1992 and continued until 2018.

We asked Dr. Wendy Chen, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, to help us sort through both the old and new information on hormone use and breast cancer and what it means for women considering starting hormone therapy.

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  • Research health conditions
  • Prepare for a doctor’s visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise

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What Is The Life Expectancy For Each Cancer Stage

Your outlook depends on the stage of your cancer when its discovered. Cancer is staged by number, starting with 0 and going to 4. Stage 0 is the very beginning and stage 4 is the last stage, also called the metastatic stage because its when cancer has spread to other areas in the body.

Each number reflects different characteristics of your breast cancer. These include the size of the tumor and whether cancer has moved into lymph nodes or distant organs, like the lungs, bones, or brain.

The cancer subtype doesnt play a role in staging, only in treatment decisions.

Survival statistics of women with the major subtypes of breast cancer such as ER-positive, HER2-positive, and triple-negative are grouped together. With treatment, most women with very early stage breast cancers of any subtype can expect a normal life span.

Survival rates are based on how many people are still alive years after they were first diagnosed. Five-year and 10-year survival are commonly reported.

According to the

  • stage 3 72 percent
  • stage 4 22 percent

One thing to note is that these statistics also included women with the more aggressive HER2-positive and triple-negative cancers. And it takes five years to get to a five-year statistical survival rate, so newer therapies are not included in these numbers.

Its likely that a woman with ER-positive breast cancer diagnosed today may have a higher chance of survival.

The Power Of Prevention

Living with the fear of breast cancer, fearing it, and not understanding it is a toxic way of living. Going for a mammogram is like waiting for a sickness to happen. Like youre waiting for the worse news of your life.

Im all about taking steps to promote your own wellness and prevent illness. To help prevent breast cancer, its important to recognize the links between elevated hormones and ill health. This is particularly true for estrogen, the female hormone that helps us develop our menstrual cycle and curves. Many women are very surprised to learn that breast cancer can be fed by estrogen. And theres plenty of clear science to show the link.

Here is the good news: Estrogenic cancers like breast cancer can be managed with a sensible diet and clean lifestyle options. This article is about that.

When Brigham and Womens Hospital and Harvard Medical School looked at womens hormones via blood samples taken from the ongoing Nurses Health Study, they found a strong link between hormonal imbalance and breast cancer.

Their study measured levels of eight different important hormones in women after menopause. Those hormones included estrogen, androgenic hormones, DHEA, prolactin and insulin-like growth factor . The results were startling. When more than one hormone level was elevated, the risk of breast cancer doubled. And when several were elevated? It tripled. But the hormone with the biggest impact? Was estrogen. You can to read more about this study.

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Why Estrogen Does Not Cause Breast Cancer

Estrogen therapy is a vital part of hormone replacement for women in menopause and beyond. Unfortunately, conventional wisdom of the past has tied it negatively to breast cancer. With over 2 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S., there has been enormous debate surrounding using hormone replacement therapy during and after breast cancer treatment.

Should there be concern? Does estrogen actually cause breast cancer? What is the research telling us? Were here to answer these questions, debunk some myths, and find the truth.

Hrt And Breast Cancer

What are the major causes of breast cancer?

So far there have been more than 60 analytical studies investigating the relationship between menopausal HRT and breast cancer risk. Data from these studies were brought together in a pooled analysis , which found that current users of HRT, or those who ceased use 14 years previously, had a 2.3% excess risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer for each year of use, an increase in risk that is comparable with the effect of delaying menopause for a year . The excess risk of breast cancer among women who had used HRT for 5 years or longer was 35%. This effect was reduced after ceasing use of HRT and had largely, if not wholly, disappeared after about 5 years. These results did not vary significantly by type of HRT, although the collaborative study had relatively little power to assess relationships with combined oestrogenprogestin therapy. More recent studies have reported that the long-term use of preparations containing progestins is more detrimental than the use of oestrogen alone . Recent data from three randomised controlled trials have confirmed that exposure to oestrogens plus progestins for 5 years is associated with an approximate 2630% increase in risk for breast cancer .

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How To Prevent Breast Cancer

1) Avoid Prempro- and all other synthetic hormone pills, xeno-estrogens, pesticides and chemicals that increase breast cancer rates.

2) Use Bio-Identical Hormones-these are naturally found in the human body and do not increase breast cancer rates or heart disease.

3) Use Iodine, Vitamin D and Selenium supplementation.

Jeffrey Dach MD

1) Estrogen Plus Progestin and Breast Cancer Incidence and Mortality in the Womens Health Initiative Observational Study by Rowan T. Chlebowski, JoAnn E. Manson, published March 29 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Affiliation of authors: Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, CA Brigham and Womens Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA Stanford University, Stanford, CA State University of New York, Stony Brook, NY University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY University of California at Davis, Sacramento, CA .

Methods We identified 41, 449 postmenopausal women with no prior hysterectomy and mammogram negative within 2 years who were either not hormone users or estrogen and progestin users . Multivariable-adjusted Cox proportional hazard regression was used to calculate hazard ratios with 95% confidence intervals . All statistical tests were two-sided.

Monitoring Your Estrogen Levels

No matter what stage of life youre in, talk with your healthcare provider. Its important to monitor hormones, especially if youre having symptoms of high estrogen.

Estrogen levels are easy to check. Labs can report on total estrogen. They can also break down results by estrogen type. This will let you take a closer look at your estradiol.

Its also good to check progesterone. Your levels may be too low and contributing to estrogen dominance. Or, your progesterone could be too high. And, you dont want that, either. About 65% of estrogen-receptor positive breast cancers are also progesterone-receptor positive . That means they can grow by attaching to progesterone, too.

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Preparation Of Whole Mounts

The whole mounts from excised mammary glands were fixed and stained as previously described. The inguinal mammary glands were excised, placed on glass slides and immerged in Carnoys fixative for 24 hr at room temperature. The glands were washed with 70% ethanol for 15 min, gradually hydrated and then stained overnight in carmine alum solution . The glands were dehydrated progressively in 70, 95 and 100% ethanol for 15 min during each step. The mammary fat pads were cleared in xylene. The mammary whole mounts were photographed using Olympus SZX12 microscope.

Risk Factors You Cant Control

Does Hormone Replacement Therapy Cause Breast Cancer? Estrogen Effects on Women!

Gender. Being a woman is the most significant risk factor for developing breast cancer. Although men can get breast cancer, too, womens breast cells are constantly changing and growing, mainly due to the activity of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. This activity puts them at much greater risk for breast cancer.

Age. Simply growing older is the second biggest risk factor for breast cancer. From age 30 to 39, the risk is 1 in 228, or .44%. That jumps to 1 in 29, or just under 3.5%, by the time you are in your 60s.

Family history of breast cancer. If you have a first-degree relative who has had breast cancer, or you have multiple relatives affected by breast or ovarian cancer , you could be at higher risk of getting breast cancer.

Personal history of breast cancer. If you have already been diagnosed with breast cancer, your risk of developing it again, either in the same breast or the other breast, is higher than if you never had the disease.

Race. White women are slightly more likely to develop breast cancer than are Black women. Asian, Hispanic, and Native American women have a lower risk of developing and dying from breast cancer.

Radiation therapy to the chest. Having radiation therapy to the chest area as a child or young adult as treatment for another cancer significantly increases breast cancer risk. The increase in risk seems to be highest if the radiation was given while the breasts were still developing .

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Men With High Estrogen Levels Could Have Increased Breast Cancer Risk

Breast cancer in men is rare, but it does happen. Less than 1% of all breast cancers occur in men. About 2% of all breast cancer diagnosed in the United States is in men.

While the link between estrogen and breast and ovarian cancer in women has been known for many years, its been unclear if there is a link between male breast cancer and estrogen.

Now an international study has found that men with naturally high levels of estrogen may have a higher-than-average risk of breast cancer.

The research was published online on May 11, 2015 by the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Read the abstract of Prediagnostic Sex Steroid Hormones in Relation to Male Breast Cancer Risk.

In the study, the researchers combined data from seven studies on male breast cancer. The studies took place in several countries around the world, including the United States, Norway, and other European countries.

The researchers compared the estrogen levels of 101 men who developed breast cancer with 217 men who hadnt developed breast cancer.

The average age of the men in the study was about 51, and the average age at diagnosis was about 67 years.

Men with the highest levels of estrogen in their blood were about 2.5 times more likely to develop breast cancer than men with the lowest estrogen levels.

To learn more about breast cancer in men, including treatments and symptoms, visit the Breastcancer.org Male Breast Cancer pages.

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