The Seventh Woman Foundation believes breast cancer prevention is as important as a breast cancer cure. Hormone balance combined with a balanced, cancer prevention lifestyle is the key to preventing breast cancer.
We know that maintaining the normal balance of hormones is essential to healthy functioning in the body and protects us against disease, while a hormone imbalance undermines optimal function and weakens our immunities. The Seventh Woman Foundation is not alone in saying that there is a definite link between dysfunctional hormone states in the body and symptoms, disorders and diseases in women, including breast cancers.
Hormone Balance and Breast Cancer Risk
A growing body of evidence points to the fact that hormonal imbalance caused by normal aging, lack of exercise, undue stress, poor nutrition, and environmental toxins including synthetic hormones (HRT), raises risks for breast cancer that mainstream medicine cannot afford to ignore. As the incidence of breast cancer has climbed over the last 30 years—from one in 30 women, to one in eight—the stats tell the story: even with all the new treatments, procedures, and fortunes spent, a woman with invasive breast cancer today has about the same chance of dying from it as she had decades ago. During the years 1973 to 1998 according to the National Cancer Institute, breast cancer rates rose more than 40 per cent; a huge increase that occurred in tandem with the huge increases in sales of synthetic hormones. The rise of HRT as a billion dollar industry might have gone unabated, but for the blockbuster results of the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2003. This large randomized clinical trial, initiated by the National Institutes of Health, was the first of its kind to investigate the health effects of synthetic hormones and revealed greater risks for stroke, heart attack, blood clots, and breast cancer among HRT users. When the bad news hit the headlines, sales of Prempro (combined synthetic estrogen and progestin), the leading brand of HRT used in the study, plummeted overnight and have continued to go down ever since, as women reject HRT in favor of natural approaches and bioidentical hormone options. Meanwhile, in peer-reviewed journals, several US research groups have reported a sharp decline in breast cancer incidence following the publication of the WHI study in 2003. Although other explanations have been offered, these researchers consider the most plausible to be that stopping HRT “removed the fuel that was promoting some tumors.”
Understanding Breast Cancer Prevention
The National Cancer Institute’s funding for breast cancer prevention is still only about 5 percent of their total budget, though breast cancer remains the leading cause of death among middle-aged (45–54) women in the US. We hear far more about treatment than we ever do about prevention, because detecting and treating breast cancers is big business in an industry geared more towards illness vs. wellness. But as women begin to voice their frustration with this flawed model of health care, and start to put words like bioidentical, hormone imbalance, and breast cancer together in the same sentence, we can hear the dialogue starting to change and recognize that we are making progress!
Dr. C.W. Randolph, a popular Ob-Gyn and early proponent of hormone rebalancing, states that, “early detection of breast cancer is very important, but prevention has much greater potential as the ultimate cure for breast cancer.” Statements like this resonate in the work and writings of John R. Lee, MD, Helene Leonetti, MD, Kenna Stephenson MD, George Gillson, MD, David Brownstein, MD, Rebecca Glaser, MD, David Zava, PhD, and other experts in the field who are researching the hormonal links to cancers and chronic disease. Says Randolph, “the scientific result I’d most like to see would show a reduction in the incidence of breast cancer because every woman in the US had begun to augment her body’s production of progesterone with bioidentical progesterone as soon as her hormone levels began to shift.” Indeed, many experts in the field agree that influencing the hormonal milieu of women at risk for breast cancer (because of undetected hormone imbalance) with balanced approaches to hormone, stress and lifestyle management is a promising avenue for primary prevention of breast cancer.
The Seventh Woman Foundation supports the following breast cancer prevention principle aims:
- that maintaining hormone balance in the body is inherently protective against breast cancer
- that hormonal imbalance and its causes be acknowledged by health care professionals and the public as a preventable risk factor for breast cancer
- that knowing the signs and symptoms of hormonal imbalance can help to prevent breast cancer
- that identifying and correcting existing hormone imbalance can help to prevent breast cancer
- that individualized hormone balancing approaches vs. one-size-fits-all hormone replacement can help to prevent breast cancer
- that the use of natural, human, bioidentical hormones as opposed to synthetic hormones (HRT) can help to prevent breast cancer
- that a program of hormone rebalancing that includes lifestyle improvements in nutrition, exercise, stress management and use of hormone-free foods and eco-friendly products can help to prevent breast cancer.