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The Crucial Role Of Estrogen In Breast Cancer

“Breast cancer is strongly linked to an individual’s life-time exposure to estrogen!”

The above is a statement that few dispute, regardless of their chosen approach to the treatment of breast cancer.  Put differently, the more you are exposed to estrogen during your life-time, the greater your risk is of developing breast cancer, or relapsing after treatment. In fact it is for this reason that Tamoxifen (an estrogen-blocking drug) has become the most prescribed medication in the conventional treatment approach of breast cancer patients.

However, in spite of the unquestionable influence which estrogen has in the development and progression of breast cancer, we need to remind ourselves that estrogen was designed by, and for the body, and women have of course always produced estrogen. The question that must follow then is, why would a hormone that was meant to help the body (not harm it!) be contributing to breast cancer, and why has this become progressively more prevalent in recent years?

It is a question that deserves some pondering.  Not only because the answers bring into question our modern approach and its failure to recognize and address the causes of our increased exposure to estrogen, but also because the answers give us an awareness that enables us to make more conscious daily choices to reduce our exposure to estrogen thereby allowing us to exercise our own significant powers to prevent (and treat) breast cancer.

First, let’s begin by reminding ourselves what estrogen is:

Estrogen is a hormone (or chemical messenger) that is produced by the ovaries and adrenal glands and which is crucial in regulating the organs involved in reproduction; namely the ovaries themselves, the uterus and breasts. Estrogen production starts at puberty and is released in a cyclical fashion (controlling menstruation) until menopause when the ovaries cease to produce estrogen. After reaching menopause smaller amounts of estrogen continue to be produced predominantly by the fat tissue. Estrogen also plays a role in bone density and heart health. It is for this reason that so many women are recommended by their doctors to take HRT (hormone replacement therapy which contains estrogen) when they reach menopause.

Lets talk about the reasons why the presence of high levels of estrogen are likely to increase the incidence of breast cancer……
Cancer develops when the cellular terrain in the body has become toxic and acidic and therefore oxygen-deprived. Breast cancer develops for the same reasons. However the breast tissue is unique in that it is comprised of glandular tissue (responsible for milk secretion) surrounded by a cushion of fat cells. The glandular tissue is highly responsive to hormones particularly estrogen, while the fat cells serve as a depot for toxins. The close proximity of these tissues is very relevant when we consider the part estrogen plays in increasing the risks for developing breast cancer.

When the cells of the glandular tissue in the breast are struggling in an oxygen-deprived terrain brought on by accumulating toxins, they mutate to cancer cells which allows them to continue to survive by fermenting glucose for energy (instead of using oxygen). It is a short-term survival attempt while you (hopefully) address the causes that lead to cancer being necessary to develop!

The fact that the glandular tissue of the breast is in close proximity to a source of toxins – the surrounding fat tissue- increases its exposure to the toxic burden that causes a reduction in oxygen and nutrient supply to the cells. These conditions allow for cancer to develop and is further exacerbated by the influence of estrogen on these cells because estrogen acts by increasing the rate of replication of cells, which includes the cancerous cells.
In addition to this anatomical reason for promoting cancer, excess estrogen also has the effect of reducing the protective protein carrying capacity of iron in the blood and tissues. As a result, the amount of iron in the free form increases in the blood which is highly damaging to the tissues and causes a lot of free radical damage. This adds to the toxic load that our immune system has to deal with, and in time compromises oxygen delivery to the cells because of it, which also creates favorable conditions for cancer to develop.

However, as I mentioned earlier, women (and men to a lesser degree) have always produced estrogen to perform several vital roles in the body, so one is left wondering why the negative effects of estrogen are being witnessed to a greater degree as it would appear from the rising breast cancer statistics.

The short answer is that our exposure to estrogen is significantly more than it used to be! In our modern world we are exposed to increasing amounts of estrogenic compounds (chemicals that act like estrogens) and therefore over the years, our cumulative exposure to estrogen in various forms increases our susceptibility to breast cancer.

The reasons for this increased exposure to estrogen are numerous and yet hugely important for any woman wishing to avoid (or heal from) breast cancer, to become aware of. The following is a list of these reasons:

1. Girls are reaching puberty at a progressively earlier age, thus producing estrogen from a younger age
2. Women are reaching menopause at a later age, thus producing estrogen into later life (the combination of 1 and 2 lengthens the life-span of estrogen exposure further)
3. We are ingesting foods that contain phyto-estrogens that have estrogen-mimicking effects, such as our modern soy foods.
4. We are ingesting estrogen-mimicking chemicals inadvertently when we eat food that has been contaminated with estrogenic compounds (such as in meat and dairy products)
5. Many of the refined foods we eat contain preservatives that act as estrogens.
6. Plastics and canned packaging leach harmful chemicals into the food and water they are made to hold, some of which mimic estrogens (eg BPA)
7. Fat cells also produce estrogen, therefore if one has more fat cells it increases the production of estrogen
8. We are choosing to take in pharmacological estrogens (medical drugs containing estrogens) in the form of oral contraceptives and HRT
9. Many pharmacological drugs are preserved with chemicals with known estrogen-mimicking effects (eg parabens).
10. We apply cosmetics to our bodies that contain chemicals with estrogen-like functions in the form of creams, anti-perspirants, sun-tan lotions etc

The above is not an exhaustive list, however it gives you some idea of the multitude of diverse reasons/sources of estrogen we are being exposed to on a daily basis. It is the accumulation of estrogens from a variety of different sources that can ultimately contribute to a terrain that is ‘ripe’ for breast cancer. The good news however, is that most of these sources of estrogen, through increased awareness can, and should be, avoided.

In conclusion, while estrogen is not the only factor involved in causing (or exacerbating) breast cancer, the role it plays is an important and undeniable one, and it is up to anyone who wishes to reduce their risk to breast cancer (while enhancing their health) to take full heed of the factors that increase their life-time exposure to estrogen! Empower your self today!

Remember #HealthIsAChoice.  We are here to help. YOUR health is OUR priority!
Now I’d like to hear from you…

Please leave your thoughts by adding a comment below.

To Your Good Health,

Dr Elena M Morreale

For More Information: Call Dr Elena Morreale (Alternative Cancer and Health Therapies, Tampa, FL)    813-968-5404      .

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.

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