Hormone Replacement Therapy TRIPLES Breast Cancer Risk
If you’re going through menopause and considering hormone replacement therapy (HRT), this month there’s a very compelling reason to stop and think again. A new study of nearly 40,000 menopausal women found that the most common form of HRT nearly triples the risk of breast cancer. This has been hinted at by studies in the past, but the current study should really—not to make a pun—give us pause.
Because no matter what Big Pharma and Big Medicine would like us to think, menopause isn’t a disease. It isn’t a medical condition. And though it can cause discomfort for some women, it’s not something that needs “treated” with strong drugs.
And ladies, if you’re having a hot flash just reading that sentence, bear with me. I’m not minimizing how miserable menopause can be. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do anything to make yourself feel better. I am saying that HRT and other drastic measures aren’t necessarily the answer. I’m saying that Big Medicine and Big Pharma a habit of taking normal bodily processes and turning them into “conditions” that need “treated”—usually at considerable expense and often with serious side effects that would never have happened without their interference.
And I’d call breast cancer a pretty serious side effect.
Big Pharma downplayed the risk to sell more drugs
This study looked at what’s called “combined HRT therapy,” the most common form of hormone replacement. This type of HRT uses both the hormones estrogen and progesterone rather than estrogen alone. It became the standard form of HRT once it was discovered that using estrogen by itself raises the risk of uterine cancer, and hundreds of thousands of women use this “treatment” every year.
Researchers at the Institute of Cancer Research in London followed 39,000 menopausal women for a total of six years. Their findings, published in the prestigious medical journal Annals of Oncology, found that women who had used HRT were 2.7 times more likely to develop breast cancer than women who never had. And the longer HRT was used, the higher the risk was.
This study also did something which earlier studies have not done: it took into account factors such as what stage of menopause a woman was in and if she started the study using HRT but stopped before the study was over. That last factor, researchers say, has skewed the conclusions of past studies. By categorizing women who stopped using HRT during a study as non-HRT users, they say the risk has been underestimated by as much as 60% in the past.
And that shouldn’t be surprising. Menopause is Big Business for Big Pharma. It’s something that happens to every single woman on the planet at some point in her life. Big Pharma has worked very hard to convince women that menopause—a part of the life cycle as natural and as normal as puberty—is a “condition” that needs their intervention and they’ve succeeded to the tune of billions of dollars. Anything that cuts into that profit is going to be swept under the rug if possible. And so it has been.
Big Pharma’s MO: create a problem so you can sell the “solution”
There have been concerns about HRT from the beginning. The spectre of breast cancer has been raised multiple times, though Pharma has managed to squash these concerns till now. It’s been linked to blood clots, strokes, and heart disease. There’s some evidence that it raises the risk of dementia. It’s linked to high blood pressure, gallstone formation, weight gain, and depression.
All this should clue us in that maybe, just maybe, our bodies aren’t designed to keep making and processing these hormones forever. Maybe, just maybe, Mother Nature knows better than Father Science how our bodies are intended to work. And maybe we should stop interfering with normal biological processes when there’s no disease present.
After all, we’d never dream of “treating” puberty, yet we could apply a lot of the arguments for “treating” menopause to it just as easily. Think about it: puberty has many uncomfortable physical symptoms. It can cause wild mood swings in the form of PMS. It’s often accompanied by depression. Many girls experience weight gain during puberty. And once they hit puberty, girls’ risk for some diseases—including breast cancer and cervical cancer—increase dramatically.
The list goes on.
And yet, we’d never dream of “treating” puberty. So why are we so willing to “treat” menopause as if women’s bodies were broken, instead of doing exactly what they were designed to do?
It’s partially a matter of belief and perception. Studies have shown that the more “normal” and “natural” women believe menopause is, the less discomfort is likely to occur. And the more negative beliefs about menopause a woman has, the more likely she is to have uncomfortable symptoms. But don’t get me wrong—that’s not to say that symptoms are all in your head. If you are suffering from hot flashes or the other discomforts associated with menopause, however, there are natural options that don’t involve running the risk of getting breast cancer.
Natural remedies for menopause symptoms
Many women go through menopause without experiencing any major issues. But if the transition isn’t going so smoothly for you, there are several natural remedies that you can try before you subject yourself to the risks of hormone replacement therapy.
- Black cohosh. This herb has traditionally been used to eliminate hot flashes. Unlike some other highly-touted natural remedies, it doesn’t have any estrogenic activity and is safe even for women with a history of breast cancer.
- B vitamins. The B-complex vitamins may help with a variety of symptoms including mood swings and depression.
- Vitamin E. This fat-soluble vitamin can help reduce the severity and incidence of hot flashes. It can also be used as a lubricant to help relieve vaginal dryness associated with menopause.
- Vitamin D. Many women are concerned with developing osteoporosis after menopause. Getting enough vitamin D is one of the most important things you can do to prevent osteoporosis.
- Dong quai. Like black cohosh, this Chinese herb has long been used to relieve the discomforts of menopause. It should not, however, be used if you’re experiencing heavy bleeding.
Acupuncture has also shown promise for relieving menopause symptoms, as has yoga. In our youth-obsessed culture, menopause is a time of intense psychological stress for many women, regardless of their logical beliefs about it. This means that stress-reduction activities such as mindfulness meditation, breathing exercises, and creative visualization may also be helpful.
But most of all, keep this in mind: Don’t believe Big Medicine’s lies. Your body is not malfunctioning. Hot flashes are not a sign of disease. Your body is doing exactly what it was designed to do, and working with it rather than against it is vital to your health.
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