A recent study finds that both natural and synthetic hormone replacement therapy causes cancer cells to grow and spread.
“we have shown that both natural and synthetic [progesterone] accelerates the development of breast cancer and increase their metastasis to lymph nodes”
It’s not just progesterone, estrogen was also found to increase the development and growth of breast cancer, and combination therapies were shown to be even worse (meaning estrogen and progesterone).
“when compared with HRT therapies containing only estrogen, combination HRT is associated with an increased risk of invasive breast cancer.(2–5) Furthermore, combination HRT has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer recurrence and metastasis.”
To confuse matters, earlier studies like this one, have found hormones to be protective against cancer in animal models, at least when used for short durations.
Many naturopaths and holistic physicians prescribe bioidentical hormones claiming they are safer than the synthetic versions, however this recent study, though it was in-vitro, is one in a growing number of studies that seems to refute that claim.
If you don’t want to take the risk, it is important to realize that Chinese medicine is VERY effective at treating the vast majority of menopausal symptoms including hot flashes, night sweating, arthritis/joint pains, anxiety, brain fog, insomnia, osteoporosis prevention and fatigue. It has been used to treat these types of conditions for thousands of years. For example, acupuncture is being successfully used to stop hot flashes even in women on anti-estrogen therapies.
Hormone replacement therapy is almost never needed in our opinion. We feel that the natural reduction in hormones during menopause is a survival mechanism. If your doctor is recommending hormone therapy for other things (such as alzheimer’s disease treatment according to the Bredesen protocol), or if there is nothing else working to control severe symptoms, specific Chinese herbs may be able to help reduce or eliminate the risk of HRT. Here is a link to an article written by Steve Gomberg (the cancer specialist at the Lotus Center) on herbs that have been studied to prevent and treat breast cancer.