Related Topics: Cancer, Hormones

Are You at Risk for Cervical Cancer?

Cervical cancer is not restricted to young women, menopause brings its own risks particularly if there is a high degree of oestrogen dominance. Recent news reports show research indicates that 20% of cases are found in women over the official screening age.

Dr Andrew Weil

Cervical dysplasia is abnormal cell growth in the uterine cervix considered to be precancerous. The condition is commonly caused by infection with certain strains of human papillomavirus (HPV). A vaccine to protect against this viral infection is approved for females ages 9 to 26, and may be approved for older women as well.

How to stay safe

There are no symptoms of cervical dysplasia. While the vaccine may help prevent infection, a regular Pap smear is the best way to detect its presence.

You can be affected by cervical dysplasia even if you’ve been vaccinated.

To help reduce the risk of cervical dysplasia, you should:

* Practice safe sex if you are sexually active (abstinence also reduces the chances of exposure to HPV)

* Follow a healthy diet that includes generous amounts of fruits and vegetables, especially those in the cabbage family

* Get regular exercise

* Be sure to get adequate amounts of vitamin B6 in your diet, or supplement with a multivitamin or B complex

More information

Many cancers are hormone related and oestrogen dominance may be accountable for breast, prostate, cervix, endometrial, uterine, and ovarian cancer, for example. Many researchers attribute the high incidence of these cancers to the increased presence of environmental oestrogen (also called xenoestrogens) present in our food such as commercially raised poultry and cattle; pesticides; and common household goods such as plastics that contain oestrogen like compounds.

In particular any long-term HRT use does seem to increase the risk for such cancers. A 1995 study by C. Rodriquez and Associates published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, showed that in 240,073 women studied, the relative risk of fatal ovarian cancer in particular was 72 percent greater among those women who were given unopposed estrogen for six years or more. That is one reason why maximum HRT use is now suggested for a much shorter period than previously, such as only five years.

Countering the effect of excess oestrogen is simply done by supplementing with bioidentical natural progesterone to restore the body’s natural balance. Women need both progesterone and oestrogen for long-term hormonal health but it is getting the ratio of each hormone right that can help reduce cancer risk and bring relief from menopausal symptoms.

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