I had a mastectomy this summer and I am scared to lose my other breast too. I recently found out about you and bought your “24-Hour” book and it has some information, but I want more guidance, specifically as it pertains to breast cancer. What else can you tell me?”
–N.L. Seattle, Washington
Answer: When it comes to breast health, two important factors are your weight and your hormone balance. Let’s start with weight. Studies prove that estrogen promotes cell proliferation in breast tumors. Those flabby abs can increase production of cancer-causing hormones, including a dangerous form of estrogen. This could be summarized: Fat causes cancer.
Now, about the hormones. The important ones like DHEA, testosterone, progesterone and estrogen have to remain in balance like a see-saw. Progesterone is useful to women who have excessive amounts of estrogen because it offers hormonal balance, but it has to be used with caution.
Estrogen breakdown is even more crucial than the total amount of estrogen you have! When estrogen breaks down in the human body, it can form several smaller molecules. The safest by-product is called “2-methoxyestradiol.” Other estrogen by-products are not as friendly in the body, and may increase your risk for cancer. I’ll call those ‘bad’ forms 4 and 16 estrogen to keep things simple.
Your body probably makes a larger amount of the cancer-causing 4 and 16 estrogens, relative to the anti-cancer 2 estrogen. My hypothesis can be verified if take a urine test offered by Genova Diagnostics called the “Complete Hormones” test which measures levels of the 2, 4 and 16 estrogens.
I interviewed one of the nation’s leading experts on natural hormone replacement, Dr. Douglas Hall, M.D. of Ocala, Florida. This OB/GYN is also a functional medicine physician, and uses his impressive educational background to treat men and women with hormone imbalances and protect them from prostate/breast cancer.
Dr. Hall explained, “Many factors affect how a hormone is altered BEFORE it enters your cells and alters the cell’s activity. For example, the estrogen levels in breast tissue may be 27 times greater than what is in the blood stream, and it may be a relatively unsafe metabolite.”
Here’s a secret: You can affect the way you break down estrogen and reduce your risk for cancer with inexpensive supplements or foods. You can increase your production of 2 estrogens with broccoli and rosemary extract, flax seed, folic acid and a few others.
Testing levels of estrogen by-products (rather than total levels) may be a better indicator of cancer risk. Unfortunately, most doctors only measure total hormones, so ask for this special urine test.
Did You Know?
Try natural “Tea Tree Oil” suppositories to treat a vaginal yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis.