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Should Women Take Hormone Pills to Prevent Breast Cancer?

Should Women Take Hormone Pills to Prevent Breast Cancer?

(Copyright DPC)

By    |   Sunday, 25 December 2016 02:41 PM

A new British study that recommended hundreds of thousands of women take hormone therapy pills to prevent breast cancer is taking fire from many U.S. experts who are challenging the U.K. advisory.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) issued draft guidelines for the National Health Service, (NHS) — the publically funded health service for England — that said “women predisposed to breast cancer because of a strong family history of the disease” should take pills to reduce their risk of breast cancer.

The three drug options suggested were tamoxifen, raloxifene, and anastrazole — all types of hormone therapies that have been proven to reduce the risk of breast cancer in very high risk patients.

British clinical trials showed that for every 1,000 patients taking anastrazole for five years, 35 cases of breast cancer could be prevented — compared to 21 for tamoxifen. Anastrazole is cheaper and has fewer side effects than tamoxifen but can make bones weaker, said researchers.

Dr. Jennifer Stagg — author of “Unzip Your Genes; 5 Choices to Reveal a Radically Radiant You” and a leading advocate of disease prevention through lifestyle choices — tells Newsmax Health that the recommendation is “preposterous.”

“While the results of this study sound promising, making a blanket statement to give all women at risk for breast cancer a pharmaceutical is preposterous. A woman with low risk would only have a 0.67 percent reduction in risk.

“The other problem is that these medications don’t go without serious risks, including increased risk of blood clots in the legs and lungs, as well as uterine cancer. In general, women want to take less medication and I routinely see patients who have had breast cancer who can’t wait to get off a similar medication because of hot flashes and vaginal dryness.”

Dr. Erika Schwartz, a New York-based wellness expert and author of “Don’t Let Your Doctor Kill You,” tells Newsmax Health that the British statement neglected to give weight to an individual’s right to make a decision based on what’s right for her, and not a statistic.

“The decision to treat must be an individual decision based on what’s right for the patient and not what a statistic states,” she says. “The side effects of these drugs far outweigh their benefits. Women lose quality of life making it impossible to enjoy themselves. What is better –enjoying your life or worrying about getting cancer.”

Schwartz points out that the side effects of taking the suggested drugs are “horrific” and can even be deadly.

“They are not potential side effects, they are very common,” she states. “Hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, loss of libido, weight gain, depression, osteoporosis, fractures and even blood clots to the legs and lungs which can potentially kill.”

Dr. Herman Kattlove, former spokesperson for American Cancer Society, tells Newsmax Health that the statistics do not show that these drugs save lives.

“There is no evidence that taking tamoxifen, raloxifene or anastrazole reduce the death rate of breast cancer,” he says. “They don’t save lives and most women don’t want to take the drugs because of the side effects.”

Dr. Jerome Spunberg, a radiation oncologist in West Palm Beach, Fla., adds that “unless the women is at very high risk, she should not take this guideline to heart.

“This is not like saying you should wear seat belts to save your life. These drugs are for women who are motivated because of a very strong family history of breast cancer and choose to tolerate the side effects. You should weigh all the options before taking such strong medication.”

Experts say that prevention is still the first and foremost strategy in the war against breast cancer.

“For women who are not candidates for medication there are many other options to reduce their risk of breast cancer,” says Stagg. “Limiting exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA) which binds to estrogen receptors exactly like our strongest estrogen, estradiol, is one important preventative tool.

“BPA is found in many plastics, liners of cups and cans, and even on store receipts. The other key areas or exercise and nutrition. Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy body fat level are important. In terms of diet, we know that many ‘super foods’ can keep our DNA healthy.”

“My top choices include green tea, leafy greens, orange and red colored foods rich carotenoids, nuts and a balanced Mediterranean style diet, limiting red meat.

Schwartz adds that avoiding sugar, alcohol, processed food, and getting enough sleep are other ways to prevent breast cancer.

“Make sure you take supplements that increase immune function and reduce inflammation, and considered taking bioidentical hormones,” she adds.

© 2021 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.

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U.S. health experts are challenging the findings of a new U.K. study that recommended hundreds of thousands of women take hormone therapy pills to prevent breast cancer. Although the drugs have been shown to reduce the risk in some women, not everyone benefits, specialists say.
breast, cancer, pills, hormone, therapy
Sunday, 25 December 2016 02:41 PM
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