Dr Bollmann, Anti-Aging Expert, Skin Care Specialist
Recently I was asked this question after one of my blogs on bio-identical hormones. "Can those of us who have had estrogen sensitive breast cancer use these bio identical hormones?"
Well, the answer can be complicated depending on the scenario. If the cancer is Stage 1 and completely contained (no spread or metastases), then after 5 years statistics show there is actually LESS recurrence of cancer than if not taking bio-identical hormones. Recurrence is 17.5% without hormones, and only 3.4 % with bio-identical hormones.
There are alpha and beta receptors in the breast; the alpha receptors can stimulate breast cancer, while the beta receptors do the opposite - they can give a protective aspect and actually reduce the incidence of recurrence, and bio-identical hormones stimulate the beta receptors.
It is interesting that in the Nurses study on hormones and breast cancer, one of the drugs used was Provera, which stimulates the ALPHA receptors. It is a shame this study is so widely quoted as a reason not to use hormones in the menopause - it has caused many women much grief. Personally I feel Provera should be off the market, because it not only stimulates the alpha receptors, but it also produces depression and moodiness - certainly not what is needed in the menopause.
Back to the complications. Unfortunately, bio-identical hormones should be started as soon as possible in menopause. So if one is older and has never taken hormonal replacement, then the receptors are no longer active, so hormones won't work.
Another complication is that many doctors are not up on the current literature concerning hormonal replacement, and are afraid to prescribe hormones because of medico-legal concerns related to the Nurses study on hormones (which was done 20 years ago.
If you have questions about hormonal replacement, then I suggest you contact http://www.a4m.com/directory.html and find a physician who prescribes bio-identical hormones and is capable of answering your questions. Or if in the Phoenix Arizona area, I can recommend someone up to date on these issues.