Related Topics: Bioidentical Hormones, Breast Cancer, Features

Finally Doctors Ask Why Over A Third Of Women Stop Using Breast Cancer Drugs

This is the case for many postmenopausal women who are treated for estrogen-sensitive breast cancer but what’s behind it?

AnnA Rushton

First let’s say that this is not something doctors don’t know, but this is the first time they have actually investigated it.  The key lies in the side effects of these drugs and it something users of natural bioidentical hormones are very aware of.

Natural progesterone does not have any reported side effects after many years of use throughout the world. It is known to have the effect of dampening down the stimulating effect of oestrogen breast tissues –and this is exactly what you wish to achieve to give yourself maximum protection against breast cancer.

This is the largest, most scientifically rigorous study to examine the question and the first to actually ask the women themselves.  It reports that 36 percent of women stop taking the drugs (aromatase inhibitors that stop the production of estrogen – such as Tamoxifen) early on in treatment.  It is entirely down to the side effects, which are more severe and widespread than previously known.

Maybe not to doctors, but certainly well known to the patients and this may be because there is a big gap between what women tell their doctors about side effects and what they actually experience.

According to lead investigator Lynne Wagner, an associate professor in medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, “Clinicians consistently underestimate the side effects associated with treatment. They give patients a drug they hope will help them, so they have a motivation to underrate the negative effects. Patients don’t want to be complainers and don’t want their doctor to discontinue treatment. So no one knew how bad it really was for patients.”  In fact in a previous study, doctors reported 5 percent of their patients experienced moderate to severe symptoms as a result of taking aromatase inhibitors, which falls far short of what the women themselves reported in the study.

The reality is that by the time women get through chemotherapy or radiation, they have to face five more years of another medication that will make them feel ill and most have had enough by that time. The symptom most likely to cause women to stop using the drugs was joint pain with other side effects compromising quality of life including hot flashes, decreased libido, weight gain, feeling bloated, breast sensitivity, mood swings, irritability and nausea.

Sadly the researchers do not intend extending their study to women using bioidential natural progesterone but if you would like to read an informed article on how it helps prevent breast cancer then this one by Dr David Zava will tell you all you need to know here:

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Please feel free to discuss this article in the comments section below, but note that the author cannot respond to queries made there.
Comments 3
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Irina | 8:41 am, October 26th, 2012

I’m not sure where you are getting your intfimaoron, but if you do test positive for the gene it is illegal for any insurance company to use this as a preexisting condition, to deny coverage or to base the cost of coverage under HIPAA. They also do not have the right to decide if you have a bilateral mastectomy or not. That decision is up to the patient period.The doctors I work with recommend the person already diagnosed with Breast cancer get the test first, because if they do not have the gene there is no reason for anyone else to be tested. If you are still concerned and you are paying for the test yourself I suggest you have it done under an alias so there is no way the results can be tracked back to you. This is common practice when working with famous and/or celebrity patients and your doctor should have no problem with it. If you do choose this route however, be very careful about keeping you paperwork as you may have a difficult time should you need copies later.EDIT: Okay, well I have received mine from a physician who spoke at a cancer meeting at UCLA. So after seeing your response I did a little searching and found it is not as clear cut as I thought, partially because it has also not been tested in the courts. There is also another point not brought up here regarding employers. I posted a link to one of the most current documents on found on the Department of Health and Human Services website so that you can read it over. Apparently this problem has been discussed for 8-10 years now and I read doing this search that Bush was supposed to sign a bill regarding this, but it did not list the bill number and did not read confirmation that it was signed. Hope this helps a little.I would go the alias route.

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wellsprings | 8:10 am, December 21st, 2011

A large scale progesterone study would be ideal but sadly there seems little interest from researchers or doctors in bioidentical natural hormones. As the late Dr John Lee predicted, it is the people benefitting from their use who are leading the way in spreading the word.

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jr | 8:54 pm, December 20th, 2011

I agree. While I believe aromatase inhibitors are in fact SAFE (since there really are no benefits from high estrogen levels except for bone density), they do cause discomfort. While it’s been reassuring to see that AIs do do not pose risks for cardiovascular disease and memory problems vs. placebo, they’re still drugs with side effects. I think we are overdue for a large-scale study of progesterone ALONE on perimenopausal and menopausal women’s health. We know it helps hot flashes and sleep and has other uses for neurological problems, such as traumatic injury or epilepsy.

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