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Topic: breast cancer and pro-gest cream bio identical

Forum: Complementary and Holistic Medicine and Treatment — Complementary medicine refers to treatments that are used WITH standard treatment. Holistic medicine is a term used to describe therapies that attempt to treat the patient as a whole person.

Posted on: Feb 1, 2011 08:09PM

gscott wrote:

Hi,

My sister had a small lump removed that was breast cancer.  She had radiation and not chemo.  She is suffering badly from hot flashes low libido and irritable.  She has no money to see a hormone specialist.  I have been using pro-gest cream and it's helping my menopause symptoms.  Her onc didnt want her taking progesterone but she is begging me to send her some samples to try (if it won't harm her).  I saw on the news that bio identicals are not supposed to cause cancer.  Do you think they are safe for people with bc?  She still gets her period but I think it's irregular.

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Feb 2, 2011 04:24PM SJW1 wrote:

Gscott,
I was diagnosed with DCIS in 2007. I started using bio-identical progesterone cream shortly after that. This is not the same stuff as the synthetic progesterone tested in the Women's Health Initiative Study. That study showed that synthetic estrogen when given with synthetic progesterone increased your risk of BC.

While synthetic progesterone and estrogen do not have the same chemical composition as the progesterone and estrogen your body makes, bio-identicals are identical to what your body makes.

When I asked my surgeon about this, she said I should not use or take any other type of bio-identical or synthetic HRT, other than bio-identical progesterone. This is because, if you are ER+, any type of estrogen can possibly encourage cancer growth when it binds with estrogen receptors.

If you are PR+, when the bio-identical progesterone binds with the progesterone receptor it has a very different effect and actually encourages cancer cell death. There are many studies showing the preventative effect of bio-identical progesterone.

I hope my explanation makes sense. Please feel free to send me a PM if you have questions or want to discuss this at all.

Best wishes,
Sandie




Dx 6/22/2007, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Feb 2, 2011 06:21PM dlb823 wrote:

gscott ~ I am a believer in alternative & complementary medicine, and I think hormone balancing is a very important subject for those of us who have had breast cancer.  However -- and I can't stress this enough -- I also think it is foolish for your sister to experiment with any hormone until she has read everything she possibly can to get a true understanding of how hormones work, and until she at least has her estrogen levels tested so that she has an idea of where she is with that, and what needs to be tweeked. 

Make no mistake, breast cancer can be life-threatening, and hormones are not something to dabble in lightly once we've had it.  I actually tried Progesterone cream for a short time (after a lot of reading), so I'm not against it.  But not one of the doctors I talked to (including an integrative oncologist and a renown hormone doctor) would RX progesterone for me since I'd had bc, and I quickly decided that I wasn't comfortable using it. 

I know there are women on BCO I respect who may disagree with me, but I can't imagine dabbling with something as blindly as your sister seems to want to do -- and that's what I'm against -- not the Progesterone, but using anything like that without fully understanding what you're doing.. 

Just my 2 cents worth...    Deanna

"The soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears" Native American proverb

Dx 2/1/2008, 1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 3, 1/16 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Dx 1/3/2014, Stage IV
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Feb 13, 2011 10:24AM gscott wrote:

dlb823

It's all very confusing. For instance, I wonder how many people are just as concerned about jumping into eating meat from the store that has been injected with testosterone. Is this possible dabbling (blindly) as well?

In process of getting lumps checked out- see profile if you want more info on me

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Feb 13, 2011 10:38AM nancyh wrote:

I don't know much about natural therapies and I haven't heard about the testosterone injected meat, so can't comment on that, but I agree with Deanna's comments above.  Hormones are really complicated, so caution is advised.

I mostly wanted to comment on relieving hot flashes.  They are miserable for sure.  There are some drugs that may give a little relief (effexor, neurontin for example although neither of these are side-effect-free).  I have found the best approach is totally low-tech.  Dress in layers during the day, turn down the heat in your house, keep an insulated mug of ice water by the bed at night and guzzle down the water for night time flashes that wake you up, also consider buying a "Chillow" which is a gel filled pillow that stays cool.  I keep one under my pillow at night and when I have a horrid hot flash in the middle of the night I put it under my back to cool off.  

Also, over the years, the hot flashes do get slightly less intense (either that or you just learn to deal with them).  If your sister is getting periods, she may find the intensity and frequency of the hot flashes may improve.

Best of luck. 

Stage 4 in 2009, mets to liver, lungs, bones, and brain.

Dx 8/12/2002, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIb, 3/12 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Dx 4/2/2007, IDC, 1cm, Stage II, ER+/PR+, HER2-Dx 9/1/2009, IDC, Stage IV, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-Chemotherapy 10/01/2002 Adriamycin, CytoxanChemotherapy 01/01/2003 TaxolHormonal Therapy 05/01/2003 TamoxifenRadiation Therapy 05/01/2003 ExternalSurgery 05/01/2007 Mastectomy (Both)Chemotherapy 06/01/2007 Cytoxan, fluorouracil, methotrexateSurgery 05/01/2008 Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement, Latissimus Dorsi flap (Both)Targeted Therapy 09/01/2009 AvastinChemotherapy 09/01/2009 AbraxaneHormonal Therapy 06/01/2010 FemaraChemotherapy 09/01/2011 XelodaHormonal Therapy 01/01/2012 FaslodexChemotherapy 06/01/2012 NavelbineChemotherapy 05/01/2013 GemzarHormonal Therapy 06/01/2013 AromasinTargeted Therapy 08/01/2013 AfinitorChemotherapy 10/28/2013 Halaven
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Feb 13, 2011 11:49AM dlb823 wrote:

Excellent point, gscott.  Hormones in meat and dairy products are the reason most naturopathic and integrative doctors recommend a diet that's extremely low in animal protein, or avoiding it altogether.  So, yes, I believe that eating the kind of meat and dairy products most commonly available in US supermarkets, combined with other genetic individualities and environmental stressors, very possibly does contribute to some of our bc dx's.  And what's especially frustrating about this is, it's hidden hormones, so we don't even know what we're getting when we eat it. 

Nancy said exactly what my integrative doctor said... "hormones are really complicated."  Even those with PhD's in microbiology don't seem to fully understand their complex workings, and especially the role they play in those of us who get bc.  Progesterone may be a good thing for your sister and many of us, gs.  I was just hoping she would make as informed a decision as possible about it.      Deanna

"The soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears" Native American proverb

Dx 2/1/2008, 1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 3, 1/16 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Dx 1/3/2014, Stage IV
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Feb 13, 2011 02:59PM lucy88 wrote:

Deanna,

I think your integrative doctor may have said hormones are complicated because it falls outside her area of expertise. We all tend to mystify things we don't deal with regularly. That is understandable.

If you had asked a bioidentical hormone specialist about hormones I'm sure you would have received a completely different, less mystifying answer. He/she would have explained the variables, the strategy and the evidence according to the amount of information you wanted.

"Not knowing when the dawn is coming, I open every door." -- Emily Dickinson

Dx 1994, IDC, 1cm, Grade 3, ER+/PR+
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Feb 13, 2011 05:04PM dlb823 wrote:

Lucy, I'm afraid you misunderstood (my fault) the spirit in which my integrative doctor made her "complicated" remarks, which I greatly oversimplified above.  She was not simply terming hormones as "complicated" because she doesn't understand them, as my post must have implied.  She was speaking as an MD, PhD, who I suspect has read everything you have and more, yet has come to a different conclusion for the time being vis-a-vis the safety of hormones for those of us who have been dx'd with certain types of bc.  True, the emphasis of her practice is not limited to, nor does she specialize in hormones.  But I feel confidant based on her research background that her opinion is not based on a lack of information or a lack of understanding.

I am not anti hormones or anti progesterone cream.  What I said is that I don't think that progesterone cream should be used by someone who has had invasive bc as a harmless over-the-counter remedy for hot flashes, and that the prudent thing to do would be to seek out expert advice.  Do you disagree with that, Lucy?  Do you think gscott should send her sister samples of progesterone cream to try, as her original post asked, without her sister bothering to have her hormone levels checked?     Deanna

"The soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears" Native American proverb

Dx 2/1/2008, 1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 3, 1/16 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Dx 1/3/2014, Stage IV
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Feb 13, 2011 05:18PM flash wrote:

another additional low tech way to deal with hot flashes: keep your hands and especially your feet consistently low in temperature.  If you are cold, use sweaters etc but make sure your feet and hands stay cool eventhough you warm your body up.  For some reason, it decreases the number of hot flashes so you have fewer moments where you're whipping off all of the clothes or covers.

multifocal multicentric IDC, DCIS, pagets et al. - er+,pr+ her2+++, mast,chemo, ooph, hyst

Dx 10/10/2007, Paget's, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Feb 14, 2011 09:41AM, edited Feb 14, 2011 09:42AM by lucy88

Deanna,

I'm absolutely confident from the research that breast cancer patients or menopausal women can't get into any trouble trying over the counter progesterone. Progesterone has been shown to slow down cell growth. If a woman is getting too much progesterone she will get sleepy or a headache or maybe crave carbs. Dr. Reiss has a section in NATURAL HORMONE BALANCE on how to tell if you are taking too much or too little.

As for lab testing, even the head of the main hormone testing lab told me that doctors only do the first test to appear concientious. But it is a waste of money to test until three months of supplementation. Still, I suggest getting a well-recommended hormone specialist onboard as soon as possible because they see patients all day long with the same issues. They may want to tweak depending on your profile.

*I responded to Deanna because she is respectful of our diversity here. Otherwise, I only discuss this subject by PM.

"Not knowing when the dawn is coming, I open every door." -- Emily Dickinson

Dx 1994, IDC, 1cm, Grade 3, ER+/PR+
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Feb 18, 2011 08:57PM july2632 wrote:

gscott?

Update?

"If there was no room for doubt, there would be no room for me." --Frederick Buechner

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Feb 22, 2011 11:13PM gscott wrote:

I have been using the pro-gest cream for awhile now with much relief from my menopause symptoms. I have lost the belly fat feeling, and hot flashes. My sister is in the process of getting her hormones tested, but I wanted to let you guys know that if you want to just try the pro-gest they have a sample pack for 9.95 called progestsample4u that you can find online.  I use it 21 days then stop for 7 and it has been a life saver!

In process of getting lumps checked out- see profile if you want more info on me