Come join others currently navigating treatment in our weekly Zoom Meetup! Register here: Tuesdays, 1pm ET.
Fill Out Your Profile to share more about you. Learn more...

Bioidentical Progesterone helps sleep, hair & lower risks cancer


Lots of people have the wrong idea, that ER/PR positive means that both estrogen and progesterone are cancer causing molecules. If that were true then puberty would cause us ALL rampant breast/uterine and ovarian c. Not true at all. I had exposure to ARTIFICIAL progestins in the birth control I used, like so very many of us.


Here is another good article. They have stigmatized Progesterone unfarely, when in reality it was the ARTIFICIAL Progestins that were altered for PROFIT, that are the cancer causing molecules. Researchers were often sloppy, siting Progesterone, when they were actually talking about ARTIFICIAL progestins.

Progesterone has so many positive roles in our health, I have looked up some links to supporting research.

  1. Maintains the Uterine lining, reducing risks of Endometrial cancer.
  2. Has a benign effect on Breast Cells, inhibiting Breast Cell Overgrowth
  4. Decreases Hot Flashes and Night Sweats
  5. Increasing metabolism and promoting weight loss
  6. Balancing blood sugar levels
  7. Acting as a natural diuretic
  8. Normalizing blood clotting
  9. Stimulating the production of new bone
  10. Promoting normal Sleep patterns
  11. Enhancing the action of thyroid hormones
  12. Alleviating depression and reducing anxiety
  13. Improving Libido
  14. Preventing cyclical migraine
  15. restoring proper cell oxygen levels
  16. Decreasing Female Pattern Hair Loss


Fact Checked

Study Suggests Progestin, Not Estrogen, Is the Real Cancer Culprit in Hormone Replacement Therapy

Written by Ann Pietrangelo on April 26, 2015

Hormone therapy that includes progestin plus estrogen may increase breast cancer risk, but estrogen alone may lower risk, according to long-term review.

A long-term review of two clinical trials has shed new light on menopausal hormone therapy and breast cancer risk over time.

In earlier clinical trials, combination hormone replacement therapy (HRT) consisting of progestin plus estrogen was linked to an increased risk of breast cancer and death from that disease.

Women who had a hysterectomy and took estrogen alone were found to have a reduced risk of breast cancer and breast cancer death.

Following those reports, use of both types of HRT declined.

Thirteen years later, researchers set out to determine both the short-term and long-term effects of HRT.


One analysis involved 16,608 women who had not had a hysterectomy. The women were assigned to receive estrogen plus progestin. Results showed this group was at increased risk of breast cancer while taking combination HRT. Within 2.75 years after stopping therapy, the risk was still present but not as high.

Another group of 10,739 women who previously had a hysterectomy were asked to take estrogen alone. This group had a reduced risk of breast cancer while receiving estrogen therapy. That lower risk continued for a few years after therapy ended. The benefit was lost after that.

The study authors concluded there is a "greater adverse influence for estrogen and progestin use and somewhat greater benefit for use of estrogen alone."

The research team was led by Rowan T. Chlebowski, M.D., Ph.D., of the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. Details were published in JAMA Oncology.

This research focused on breast cancer risk and did not involve other potential risks of HRT.



  • macb04
    macb04 Member Posts: 756


    After Twenty Years Cancer Research Blog

    Exploring progress in cancer research from the patient perspective.


    Skip to content

    A Role for Progesterone in Breast Cancer Treatment?

    June 20, 2017By Lisa DeFerrariin Research ProgressTags: Cancer Clinical Trials, Hormone Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer, Tamoxifen, Targeted Therapies3 Comments

    New research sheds light on the role of progesterone in hormone receptor-positive breast cancer.Back in August 2015, I wrote about an article in the journal Nature on some interesting new discoveries about the role of the hormone progesterone in hormone receptor-positive breast cancer.

    The research suggested that adding progesterone to standard treatment with tamoxifen or an aromatase inhibitor could increase the effectiveness of treatment for this subtype of breast cancer, while possibly also lowering toxicity.

    Cancer Research UK reports that these findings are now going to be investigated in three clinical trials that are set to begin.

    In addition to possibly increasing the effectiveness of existing anti-estrogen therapies, and maybe also lowering toxicity, another benefit of this potential treatment approach is that it involves existing drugs that are already well understood and widely used–and whose cost is low.

    It's encouraging to see these studies going forward. I'll be following developments in these trials with interest. In the meantime, I'm attaching below my earlier post, which includes some background on the role of the progesterone receptor and what the researchers found.

    Hormone Receptor Positive Breast Cancer: A Look At New Research Findings

    About two out of three women diagnosed with breast cancer have the sub-type that is referred to as hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. This means that when tumor cells (from a biopsy or surgery) are examined under a microscope they're found to have receptors for the hormone estrogen (they are "ER-positive") and/or the hormone progesterone (they are "PR-positive).

    The prognosis generally tends to be somewhat better for this type of breast cancer, and there are several targeted hormonal therapies available. These treatment options, which include tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors, focus on the sensitivity of this type of breast cancer to the hormone estrogen. These drugs work in slightly different ways, but the goal is to "starve" tumor cells of the estrogen they need to survive and grow.

    For hormone-positive metastatic breast cancer as well, there are a number of hormonal therapies available. These include tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors and several newer drugs. All of these treatments work by interfering with the ability of estrogen to fuel the growth of breast cancer cells.

    But there are no therapies widely used today that target progesterone or its receptor in either early stage or metastatic breast cancer. Why do we even measure this characteristic at all if it doesn't have any role in determining treatment?

    Role of the Progesterone Receptor

    Delving into this question a little, I found that the role of the progesterone receptor in hormone-positive breast cancer has been somewhat controversial. The information about PR status has mostly been used to help determine prognosis. That is, a higher level of PR positivity (a numerical level is assigned) has been associated with a somewhat better outcome. And a lower PR level or lack of PR receptors ("PR-negative" breast cancer) is generally not as good a prognosis.

    Beyond this role in determining prognosis though, there is disagreement. Some believe that PR status has no role in determining treatment, and that there really is no need to continue measuring it. However, others are of the view that PR status is useful as a biomarker to help identify patients whose ER-positive breast cancer is most likely to respond to specific types of anti-estrogen treatments and to help in choosing the most beneficial treatments for these patients.

    Progesterone Receptor Study

    In this new study, researchers set out to learn more about how the progesterone receptor actually works. Conducting experiments in cell lines (human breast cancer cells grown in the lab), the researchers found that there is "cross-talk" between the progesterone receptors and the estrogen receptors on breast cancer cells. In other words, they found that the receptors are communicating with each other.

    And what was really interesting was that the more of this communication that was going on the better–this was because signals from the progesterone receptor served to tone down the pro-cancer activity of the estrogen receptor.

    In another set of experiments, the researchers implanted hormone-positive human breast cancer tumors into mice. They found that exposing the mice to estrogen caused the tumors to grow, while exposing the mice to both estrogen and progesterone actually caused the tumors to shrink. They also found that treatment that included the hormone progesterone, in addition to anti-estrogen therapy (tamoxifen), was more effective than just tamoxifen in reducing the size of the tumors.

    What These Findings Could Mean For Patients

    These findings will of course need to be confirmed in additional studies including clinical trials. And the possible side effects of combining the hormonal treatments would have to be evaluated.

    Hopefully, that follow-up will happen.

    The lead researcher on the study, quoted in Medical News Today said the findings provide "a strong case for a clinical trial to investigate the potential benefit of adding progesterone to drugs that target the estrogen receptor, which could improve treatment for the majority of hormone-driven breast cancers."

    An interesting aspect of this approach is that it would use an existing drug that is currently available as a generic.

    Finally, when talking about progesterone, there's an important distinction to be aware of. The Nature article points out that there's compelling evidence that including progesterone as part of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) increases the risk of breast cancer. However, the authors say the increased risk is mostly attributed to the synthetic form of progesterone that's used in HRT. That increased risk, they said, is not significant when natural progesterone is used.

    Photo Credit: designer491 via Shutterstock

    Share this:

    Post navigation

    «5 Cancer Research Stories Worth Following – Spring 2017

    Charity Review: Cancer Research Institute»

    3 responses

    1. thesmallc says:June 20, 2017 at 10:43 amThank you for this information. I have always had a curiosity about how progesterone contributes to BC. I had very high level of progesterone (87%) and estrogen (99%) on my pathology report. But now they are saying progesterone may actually be helpful? This is all interesting and I look forward to knowing what researchers find out.
      • Lisa DeFerrari says:June 23, 2017 at 9:31 amHi, Rebeca. I'm very interested too in seeing what they find out. I always wondered what the purpose was in measuring the level of the progesterone receptor because it didn't seem like a whole lot was done with that information. Perhaps some new insights will come out of this that will be valuable for patients. Thanks as always for reading and for your comments!
    2. Eileen says:June 29, 2017 at 3:10 amAlmost seems counter intuitive. Fascinating though. Who knew?

    Welcome! I'm a cancer research advocate who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1993 at the age of 35. I'm a graduate of the National Breast Cancer Coalition's Project LEAD program, which trains advocates in the fundamentals of breast cancer science. I've also served on numerous panels reviewing cancer research proposals for government funding. Please join us as we follow the progress that's being made in cancer research, care and prevention.
    - Lisa DeFerrari


    Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.



    My Tweets




    Archives Select Month June 2018 May 2018 March 2018 February 2018 December 2017 November 2017 October 2017 September 2017 August 2017 July 2017 June 2017 May 2017 April 2017 March 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 November 2016 October 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 June 2016 May 2016 April 2016 March 2016 February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 November 2015 October 2015 September 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 April 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 September 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 April 2014 March 2014 February 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 October 2013 September 2013 August 2013 Disclaimer: The information and opinions presented on this website are not medical advice. Please consult your medical professional regarding any personal medical questions or concerns.

    Copyright © 2013-2018 After Twenty Years All Rights Reserved
    Background Photo Credit: slhy via Shutterstock


    Footer menu

    Blog at

  • macb04
    macb04 Member Posts: 756

    No one is reading this? Not even 1 word, hmm......

  • preludesing
    preludesing Member Posts: 64

    Thank you Macb04! I am reading this with great interest....thank you so much for taking the time to post 🙏🙏

  • preludesing
    preludesing Member Posts: 64

    Thank you Macb04! I am reading this with great interest....thank you so much for taking the time to post 🙏🙏

  • macb04
    macb04 Member Posts: 756

    I just wanted to make sure women know what their real options are, and that Bioidentical Progesterone is safe and Good For our Health in so many ways.

  • preludesing
    preludesing Member Posts: 64

    Do you recommend a particular brand/type?

  • macb04
    macb04 Member Posts: 756

    So their is a lot of discussion around Bioidentical Progesterone, whether or not women should use a cream such as Emerita Pro-Gest, or is the presciption strength Specially Compounded Prescription Bioidentical Progesterone Capsules, or Prometrium Bioidentical Progesterone Tablets better than the cream . The oral forms of Progesterone are Prescription only, whereas the Progesterone Creams are available OTC, and online.

    With the oral forms of Progesterone it is more certain of the dosing you are getting, while the cream absorption varies, and application sites need to be rotated. Oral Progesterone is better for sleep for one thing. The cream skips the first pass metabolism effects. I kind of wonder if oral is better, or a bit of both oral and topical in some kind of combination would be better. I keep reading up on it, but still feel not 100% one way or the other, although I am on the oral form mostly because I wanted to make sure I am keeping my Uterine lining stable since I am on twice weekly Vagifem Estradiol.

  • salamandra
    salamandra Member Posts: 745

    I have my first meeting with my medical oncologist next Friday and I'll about this.

  • preludesing
    preludesing Member Posts: 64

    Thanks mac...I will be asking my Onc soon too!

  • macb04
    macb04 Member Posts: 756

    Almost all the oncology people are completely mixed up and against Progesterone because they think the ARTIFICIAL Progestins which cause cancer in all the Research Literature are the same as the Bioidentical Progesterone. They need to do their homework. Thoroughly.... Research UK HomepageDonate

    Taking a potential new breast cancer treatment from the lab to the clinic

    Category: Science blog May 5, 2017 Emma Smith5 comments

    In 2015, we wrote about some fascinating research from one of our scientists based at our Cambridge Institute, Dr Jason Carroll.

    Carroll and his team uncovered a possible explanation for why women whose breast cancer cells carry two key molecules – called the oestrogen and progesterone receptors – do better than those whose cells only carry the oestrogen receptor. Even when they receive the same treatment.

    They revealed that when signals were sent through the progesterone receptor it slowed down the growth of breast cancer cells. To find out if this had potential as a treatment, the researchers tested a new combination of hormone therapies and found it slowed down tumour growth in mice.

    This was a really important study, but had only been carried out in mice, so it was too early to say whether it could help treat women with breast cancer.

    Now, just 2 years after the discovery from Carroll's team, 3 clinical trials are set to open that will test this new approach in people.

    From lab beginnings

    Carroll's study was instrumental in understanding how the progesterone receptor works in breast cancer, and how it can act as a handbrake on cancer cells' growth. The team's results have now led to a possible new approach for stopping double positive breast cancer cells growing.

    Normally, women whose breast cancer cells carry the oestrogen receptor (so-called ER positive) are treated with drugs that cut off oestrogen or directly block the oestrogen receptor. This will either be tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitors, depending on whether the woman is pre- or post-menopausal.

    Dr Jason Carroll

    Dr Jason Carroll

    But Carroll's results showed that treating mice with those oestrogen-blocking drugs and a dose of the hormone progesterone had an even bigger effect compared to the oestrogen-blocking drugs alone.

    Progesterone changes the genes that oestrogen turns on and off by forcing the oestrogen receptor to sit in different positions in the genome, and according to Carroll this means the combined treatment offers a safety net.

    "It's like a double blow," he says. "We cut off oestrogen, and as an insurance policy we use progesterone to pull the oestrogen receptor away from the genes that support cancer's growth."

    This was the evidence that was needed to take the research into early clinical trials.

    Challenging beliefs

    When the results were published, they caused quite a stir. Carroll says they challenged how people thought these different types of breast cancer worked at the time.

    "For years there'd been a lot of confusion over whether progesterone encourages cancer to grow, and this has largely come from population studies looking into hormone replacement therapy (HRT)," he says

    Some women choose to take HRT to ease symptoms caused by the menopause. There are different types, and the combined form contains a man-made version of progesterone called medroxyprogesterone acetate (or similar versions).

    It's this combined form of HRT in particular that is linked to an increased risk of developing breast cancer.

    "This led to the popular belief that progesterone encourages breast cancer to grow," says Carroll. "But it's not that simple. Different versions of man-made progesterone seem to have different effects on cells compared to the natural hormone.

    "Plus we were trying to understand what role progesterone plays after a breast cancer has developed, rather than looking at how it affects risk of cancer beginning in the first place."

    Into the clinic

    Just 6 months after the findings were published, Carroll was approached by Dr Richard Baird, a clinical trials specialist based at our Cambridge Centre, to discuss possible trials.

    Because the drugs we want to test have been used by doctors for years for a variety of reasons, we know they are safe and what doses to use them at. Plus they have the benefit of being cheap.
    – Dr Jason Carroll

    "A clinical trial from Brazil showed that around 40% of women whose cancer had stopped responding to standard oestrogen-blocking therapies, including tamoxifen and anastrozole, still responded to a man-made progesterone called megestrol acetate," says Carroll.

    Their idea was to try the combination of oestrogen-blocking drug and progesterone as the first therapy women receive. And setting up the trial was surprisingly simple.

    "Because the drugs we want to test have been used by doctors for years for a variety of reasons, including in the treatment of late stage metastatic breast cancer, we know they are safe and what doses to use them at. Plus they have the benefit of being cheap," says Carroll.

    The Pioneer trial is being led by Carroll and Baird, and will start enrolling women with early stage breast cancer in June 2017.

    Women joining the trial will still get the gold standard of care treatment that all women with early breast cancer receive, but the team will test the combination in a gap that exists between diagnosis and surgery.

    "What happens is there's normally a few weeks' wait between a women having a biopsy and then having surgery to remove her tumour.

    "In our trial, we're going to ask women to take the combination of an oestrogen-blocking drug – in our case anastrozole – and the man-made progesterone (megestrol acetate) during this wait. Then we can study the biopsy sample and a sample of the tumour removed during surgery to see the effects of the combination treatment on the cancer cells."

    Not 1, but 3 trials

    Carroll and Baird are focusing on post-menopausal women in their trial, but there are 2 other trials that have been set up in partnership that look at slightly different things.

    One of the trials, led by Dr Carlo Palmieri at the University of Liverpool, is being funded by us. The approach is similar to that of Carroll and Baird, but Palmieri's trial will involve pre-menopausal women who will be given a combination of tamoxifen and man-made progesterone instead.

    The third trial will be opening in Australia, testing a combination of aromatase inhibitors and natural progesterone in post-menopausal women.

    If the trials show that the combination treatment is effective by studying tumour samples, the next steps would be extending the studies into larger trials so women are given the combination after surgery too, to see if it improves survival and doesn't cause any harms in the long-term.

    Another interesting angle to the trials is finding out if adding progesterone to oestrogen-blocking drugs helps reduce the side effects of treatment.

    "For the maximum effect, women should take oestrogen-blocking drugs for the recommended time period after surgery," says Carroll. "But unpleasant side effects mean many women stop their treatment early, and this increases the risk of their cancer returning.

    "As part of this trial, we're also finding out if a lower dose of progesterone routinely used to alleviate menopausal symptoms works as well as the higher dose. This could make the side effects of hormone therapy more manageable and improve the fraction of women that stay on their standard treatments."

    The clinical trials are only just opening, so we'll need to wait until they've got some results before knowing if this will benefit women with double positive breast cancer and could be made widely available.

    But thanks to some excellent lab research by Carroll and his team, and our funding, the trials are up and running and we're another step closer to an

    July 8, 2015

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- to main content



    Hormones after breast cancer: Not fuel for the fire after all?

    Natural hormones reduce breast cancer tumors and have positive effects on cardiac and bone health







    A new study supports a growing body of research suggesting a safe and effective role for natural steroid hormones in treating postmenopausal breast cancer, with fewer detrimental side effects and improved health profile than with standard anti-hormone therapies. The study will be published in final format today in the open-access journal Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology.

    Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women in the United States. Approximately 70% of breast cancers are diagnosed in postmenopausal women. Major clinical trials and experimental studies showed that a class of anti-estrogen drugs called aromatase inhibitors (AIs) is effective against postmenopausal breast cancer. Yet despite their effectiveness in reducing tumor recurrence, aromatase inhibitors have adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and increase osteoporosis and bone fractures, which may explain their lack of overall survival improvement versus the older treatment, tamoxifen. These effects, together with undesirable side effects such as incontinence and bone and joint pain, cause many women to discontinue using AIs. Alternatives are needed.

    In their study, researchers at the Center of Excellence in Cancer Research at the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, set out to explore a radical and counterintuitive hypothesis: Could an optimal choice of hormones lead to improved survival factors and quality of life, enough to outweigh any negative effect on tumor recurrence? Radical--because current standard of practice considers hormone treatment of any type absolutely contraindicated following hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. Counterintuitive-- because estrogen-blocking aromatase inhibitors, a nearly opposite treatment, are the current adjuvant treatment for women after hormone-sensitive breast cancer.

    Results from this study in a mouse model suggest the answer to their question is "yes,"--well-chosen hormones could improve both survival and quality of life.

    "We are at a very preliminary stage. Our study's results are promising, but we need to know much more. This study provides a good direction," said Rajkumar Lakshmanaswamy, PhD, lead investigator for the study and research director of the Center of Excellence in Cancer Research.

    The study was funded by Parsemus Foundation, a nonprofit foundation focused on reproductive health.


    In the experiments, the researchers used the same type of hormones present in the body, because bioidentical hormones have been shown to possess a more positive risk-benefit profile than molecularly altered hormones. In the landmark Women's Health Initiative study, a negative risk-benefit profile was seen with oral equine estrogens plus oral synthetic medroxyprogesterone acetate (PremPro), an older drug combination that continues to dominate the market in English-speaking countries. Estradiol and progesterone delivered non-orally were selected for the experiments in part because of an extensive literature indicating more favorable outcomes.

    The results showed that the right combination of hormone treatments reduced the risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease, undesirable health effects associated with estrogen deficiency following menopause. Adding a little testosterone helped even more. Estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, together (E plus P plus T treatment) was associated with greater physical activity, improved cognition, and better cardiovascular and bone health in the mouse model, and demonstrated the potential significance of hormone treatment in postmenopausal women.


    Giving any sort of estrogen after hormone-sensitive breast cancer would generally be considered "throwing fuel on the fire." But the results were counterintuitive: tumor growth was reduced the most by E plus P plus T treatment. Long term, only in one group--the lowest-dose E plus P group--did addition of hormones result in tumor volumes slightly worse than in the control animals, noted Lakshmanaswamy.

    "In this study, the aromatase inhibitor did indeed reduce recurrence as expected. However, recurrence rates in the aromatase inhibitor group bounced back up after the 5-year-equivalent treatment period, and the overall improved health outcomes in the hormone groups meant a trend towards greater survival in those groups. Even more notably, two of the regimens were even better than the aromatase inhibitor at preventing tumor growth," said Arunkumar Arumugam, first author of the study.

    To date, epidemiological plus animal and laboratory evidence combined suggest that though the recurrence picture is complicated, the majority of women post-breast-cancer will do better on optimized hormones than on anti-hormones, because of better global outcomes, added Elaine Lissner, executive director of the Parsemus Foundation and second author.

    "This study indicated that certain hormone regimens, especially adding testosterone, may even result in lower recurrence rates than aromatase inhibitors, on top of better global health outcomes, survival and quality of life. It's another piece of evidence that hormones don't always work the way we assume," said Lissner.


    V. Craig Jordan, OBE, PhD, DSc, a scientist specializing in medications that treat and prevent breast cancer at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University, considers the study an intriguing contribution to a scientific area now receiving a lot of interest. Jordan is widely considered the "father" of tamoxifen, a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) that changed the field of breast cancer treatment. He also proved the anti-cancer effects of raloxifene, another SERM that blocks the effects of estrogen in breast tissue. He now studies how cancer cells can be killed by estrogen after being super-sensitized to it by those very same estrogen-blocking drugs.

    The results of this study are consistent with those found in his lab. "This paper has all of the right results for the tumor and the right results for the mouse. It all lines up as far as I'm concerned." The only downside, according to Jordan, is the four-month treatment period for the mice--when women are treated for decades, and tumors are "clever and can change in a heartbeat." "Things happen short term in labs all the time; it's a very hard sell to go from experiments to outside the lab," he said.

    The four-month period for mice was designed to be equivalent to five years in a woman's lifespan, and is the same time period used in aromatase inhibitor pre-approval studies. But the trend is towards ever-longer treatment periods with aromatase inhibitors, ten years or more, despite impacts on quality of life.


    So should women be asking their doctors for hormone treatment rather than anti-hormone treatment after breast cancer? Could the right hormones be more effective at preventing recurrence than aromatase inhibitors, with better quality of life? For the time being, this will remain radical, says Lissner, and only the most open-minded oncologists will be willing to consider the data--despite epidemiological evidence that women who take hormones after breast cancer have much better survival rates than ones who don't.

    The next step, according to Lakshmanaswamy, is to determine the hormone dose that is efficient and provides the maximum benefit with the fewest side effects, if any. But with little profit potential and no pharmaceutical company involvement, those studies are unlikely to get done unless the public pushes for taxpayer-funded research. "Our results show that using natural hormones in appropriate combinations suppresses tumor growth and has beneficial effects on cardiac and bone health, along with better tumor reduction than with current treatments. Many lines of research are coming together now, all pointing in the same direction, but only clinical trials would tell for sure."


    The final version of the study is accessible online:

    About Parsemus Foundation:

    Parsemus Foundation works to advance innovative and neglected medical research. The foundation supports small proof-of-concept studies and then seeks to raise awareness of results, to ensure that they change treatment practice rather than disappear into the scientific literature. Many of the studies the foundation supports involve low-cost approaches that are not under patent, and thus unlikely to be pursued by pharmaceutical companies due to limited profit potential. More information on Parsemus Foundation and the work presented here can be found at:

    Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.



    Media Contact

    Elaine Lissner

    More on this News Release

    Hormones after breast cancer: Not fuel for the fire after all?


    Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology

    AAAS - American Association for the Advancement of Science

  • rah2464
    rah2464 Member Posts: 1,192

    macb04 Thanks for sharing this. Wow. There is so much we still don't understand about this disease and how our hormones impact its progression or even origination. Here is hoping that the mouse study results are confirmed by human clinical trials. Wouldn't that be wonderful?

  • MoonGirlJess
    MoonGirlJess Member Posts: 211


    That’s fascinating! Thanks for posting

  • macb04
    macb04 Member Posts: 756

    Hi Rah2464, and MoonGirlJess, glad to spread the word. I just love the Bioidentical Progesterone I use. Helps with sleep and growing back my hair. AND it has anticancer benefits too! What's not to like?

  • MoonGirlJess
    MoonGirlJess Member Posts: 211

    macb04–I have Taxol tomorrow and it’s on my list to ask my NP about the bioidentical progesterone. Did you say you take both a PO (oral)and a cream?

  • macb04
    macb04 Member Posts: 756

    I hope that more people read this info about Bioidentical Progesterone and share this info, with their doctors and fellow suffers. A grassroots support for education and healthy relief of symptoms associated with "treatment ".

    About time Quality of Life became an important facet of bc industry "care"

  • Yaniza
    Yaniza Member Posts: 83

    I got no love from my med oncologist a few months ago when I made an appointment to talk to him about progesterone. Almost got attitude.

    Oh well, I'm glad people are looking into it.

    Cheers, Yaniza

  • meow13
    meow13 Member Posts: 1,363

    macb04, I have seen and read about the research in Australia but from what I understand having a complete lack of progesterone receptors the benefit is not recognized, the additional treatment was only focused on er+ pr+ cancer. Is that true or am I not correct? I would love to be wrong, looking for treatment that actually would improve the way I feel and prevent recurrence.

  • macb04
    macb04 Member Posts: 756

    Meow13, I think that is right, that if there is no active PR receptor, the Progesterone won't be the same benefit for those women as it would be for women with ER+/PR+. That is not to say it would have no benefit, I wouldn't read it that way at all. In a PR negative situation, a Progesterone molecule is not actively able to bind to and put the breaks on Estrogen receptors and their effects on cell growth. Even in those circumstances Progesterone has much to offer an improved quality of life, such as stronger bones, stopping hot flashes, improved sleep, ect, while not having a negative impact on risks for breast cancer. Hope I explained it in a somewhat helpful way.

    Yaniza, not surprised to hear your onco had a bit of attitude over Progesterone. It is a fixed belief that is inaccurate to say the least and difficult to educate them out of. I think giving Bioidentical Progesterone like Prometrium is going to radically impact the future of bc treatment, and hugely improve women's quality of life.

    Long overdue.

  • MoonGirlJess
    MoonGirlJess Member Posts: 211

    macb04– I think my NP thought I had lost my mind asking about bioidentical progesterone. Needless to say that conversation was short.

  • Yaniza
    Yaniza Member Posts: 83

    I got a similar reaction from my medical oncologist. He was polite but I knew that it was not going to be a productive conversation.

  • macb04
    macb04 Member Posts: 756

    Isn't that sad, MoonGirlJess and Yaniza, that your oncologists are unwilling to educate themselves.

    Still, you can look around and find other doctors who can help you improve your quality of life safely, and possibly lower your risk of reoccurence.

    Every time a doctor discusses ARTIFICIAL Progestins side effects, being the same as what occurs with Bioidentical Progesterone, I want them EDUCATED!

    Their ignorance is not Bliss, it's actually incredibly harmful. ..............That's why I share this info, there is so much bc industry medical lack of knowledge.

    We all suffer needlessly way, way too much. Men wouldn't stand for it.

  • dtad
    dtad Member Posts: 771

    Macb04...thanks so much for all the information. I for one am very interested in bioidentical hormones. Most MOs know very little about female hormones. What kind of doc would you recommend to prescribe them?

  • macb04
    macb04 Member Posts: 756

    Hi dtad, regular MD 's will occasionally do it, but otherwise I would suggest either a Naturopath or a Functional or Integrative Medicine MD or ARNP. Look at the following Article on Bioidentical Hormones by an Integrative Medicine MD on Osteoporosis.

    • ..................................................................................................................................
    • What You Don't Know About Osteoporosis
    • We'll look at one of the most controversial and misunderstood treatments for osteoporosis -- hormone replacement therapy. We'll also answer whether being obese can actually reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
    • By Joseph Sciabbarrasi, M.D., ContributorJoseph Sciabbarrasi, M.D. has been a pioneer and practitioner of Integrative Medicine for over 30 ye ...03/18/2010 05:12am ET | Updated November 17, 2011This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.This time we'll look at one of the most controversial and misunderstood treatments for osteoporosis -- hormone replacement therapy. We'll also answer the question as to whether being obese can actually reduce your risk of osteoporosis.Bioidentical Hormones for WomenPrior to the publication of the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) study, hormone replacement therapy was the first choice in preventing and reversing osteoporosis. After WHI the bisphosphonates became number one (such as Fosamax, Boniva, Actonel and for those with bone cancers, Zometa). And this is for good reason. These drugs are effective in reducing risks of fracture in well conducted studies.

      But long term studies of bisphosphonates have also revealed side-effects which, though only occurring in a small minority of patients, can be serious. These include jaw bone deterioration and ulceration of the esophagus. One comprehensive long term study of over 12,000 women with osteoporosis also showed it would be necessary to treat approximately 66 women to prevent one fracture (1).Other, though possibly less effective, medications are also available for use if the bisphosphonates are unsuccessful.But what about hormones? Why did they fall out of favor when they consistently helped prevent fractures?Well, it was reported they also resulted in increased risks of blood clots, strokes and breast cancer, as was reported in the WHI studies. But a large part of the problem wasn't the hormones -- it was the study itself. There were major flaws in the WHI trials. Such prestigious institutions as the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, journals such as the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences and even the WHI researchers themselves have criticized almost every aspect of the WHI studies done (2-4).That certainly let a lot of air out of the balloon. Even so, there still is good evidence that women who use the synthetichormones doincrease their risks of side-effects and adverse events.The one area which was not criticized, however, was the 30% reduction in all types of fractures and the 40% reduction in hip fractures in particular with the use of HRT (hormone replacement therapy) (5).But who wants to risk adverse effects if these can be reduced?Did you notice I wrote synthetic hormones have increased risks associated with their use? Synthetic hormones such as Premarin, Estratest, FemHRT, Prempro and Provera are all molecules which have been altered. They are not found in nature, nor are they made in our body. It is this alteration which most researchers believe accounts for the significant differences causing increased risks and adverse effects experienced with the synthetics in many women.As it turns out, the risks associated with synthetic hormones are notseen to the same significance with the Bioidentical hormones as shown in a number of excellent studies.Bioidentical hormones are the exact hormones which our bodies produce. To the last atom, they are identical in every way to that which nature gives us.

      Bioidentical hormones have a much different -- and safer profile. This evidence comes for example, from studies which have looked at the risks of breast cancer with synthetic HRT to the significantly reduced risks with bioidentical hormones (6-7).There is also good evidence that transdermal estrogen (patch or cream applied to the skin) has no increased risk of causing breast cancer or blood clots -- especially potentially fatal blood clots which can travel to the lungs, heart or brain (8-9).Moreover, comprehensive reviews of the safety and effectiveness of Bioidentical HRT have also concluded that, from all the clinical evidence we have to date, they are an excellent choice for protecting against fractures in women with osteoporosis (10-11).Bottom Line: Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy for women is a valid and viable option for protecting against osteoporotic fractures. There will always be a need for further studies to add to our knowledge, but the track record to date is excellent. They must be used by a knowledgeable practitioner, accompanied by periodic testing and all preventive medicine care. I appease my obsessive need to keep patients safe by tracking these things rather closely. And any hormone therapy should always be used at the lowest effective dose, using estrogen and progesterone together. This combination of the bioidenticals offers the best benefit and protection against problems.In my clinical practice -- over 15 years of experience in the use of Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy -- I regularly see that we not only halt, but we reverse osteoporosis. For women, I require annual gynecological evaluations, mammograms and pelvic ultrasound as well as periodic lab testing to ensure we are achieving optimal ranges of therapy. Bone mineral density evaluation is also periodically required as appropriate.Most importantly, you want to know you are in safe hands while benefiting from all the positives of this exceptional therapy. Therapy should be individualized and tailored to the specifics of each patient's needs and risk profile.Well, that's great for women. But what about men and testosterone replacement for bone health? Which would also be terrific for the libido in older guys.

      Except for one big problem. Doesn't testosterone cause prostate cancer? So for all the good it does, aren't men just helping one part and hurting another? Bummer. What's a guy to do?Testosterone, Osteoporosis and the Risk of Prostate CancerIn a comprehensive review of the subject, we see not only an increase in bone density, but significantly fewer fractures in older men with osteoporosis who are treated with testosterone replacement therapy. Moreover, this can be donewith no evidence of any increased risk of prostate cancer (12).

      Did we hear this right? No increased risk?Well, quoting these authors:"So far, there is no compelling evidence that testosterone has a causative role in prostate cancer."And this review echoes literally a multitude of studies which have concluded exactly the same findings over the last 20 years. Testosterone replacement therapy does not increase a man's risk of prostate cancer.Bottom Line: All men over the age of 50 should be screened for the possibility of bone loss with blood tests as well as bone mineral density testing where appropriate. Testosterone replacement therapy should be considered as first line therapy for men with bone loss or osteoporosis along with regular follow-up testing for optimal levels and a physical exam. Prostate health should be followed, these studies notwithstanding.Moreover, men with a history of prostate cancer are not necessarily excluded from receiving testosterone therapy. In my practice, I work closely with prostate oncologists to carefully select and follow these individuals while they receive testosterone replacement.Sweet. So now, what's the story on weight, obesity and osteo?ObesityThere are many potential causes for osteopenia and osteoporosis. This is not one of them. Despite the fact that there are a host of diseases which anyone with obesity is at increased risk for -- such as hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol and coronary heart disease, there are no studies which show that obesity will increase anyone's risk of developing osteoporosis. But, of course, there is a catch.Obesity is also associated with an increased risk of falls. And even though the bone mineral density of many obese individuals is normal, there is an increased risk of fractures of the forearm, legs and spine. You heard it right. You can have a normal bone density and no osteoporosis and still have a significantly higher risk of breaking a bone if you are obese. This does not seem to be true for hip fractures, however, where there seems to be no increased risk with obesity (13 - 16).What seems to be most likely is that the protective effect of increased body size is due to the amount of muscle we have on our bodies -- not just how obese we are. This lean tissue as it is called seems to be the most important factor in obese people which protects against fractures (17).Bottom Line: If you are obese, start or continue working out to build muscle. Obesity will not cause osteoporosis. But it will increase your risk of breaking a bone whether or not your bone density is normal.Remember: Osteoporosis is a reversible disease. And so is your risk of fractures due to obesity.In our next and final installment on osteoporosis, we'll take a closer look at why I think my bones are better than my vegetarian buddy Jason's; the mineral Strontium; Vitamin K; fish oils (for stronger bones?); and the good, the bad and the surprising side of alcohol. Stay tuned!Joseph Sciabbarrasi, M.D., has practiced Integrative Medicine in West Los Angeles since 1993. In addition to his work with Osteoporosis, Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, Cardiovascular and Chelation therapies, he also lectures, writes and celebrates his weekends with his wife, Kathleen and their 8 year old son, Kieran. Join him at his website: www.drjosephmd.comReferences1. Wells GA, et al. Alendronate for the primary and secondary prevention of osteoporotic fractures in postmenopausal women.Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008 Jan 23;(1):CD001155.2. Klaiber EL, et al. A critique of the Women's Health Initiative hormone therapy study. Fertil Steril. 2005 Dec;84(6):1589-601.3. Mastorakos G, et al. Pitfalls of the WHIs: Women's Health Initiative. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2006 Dec;1092:331-40.4. Manson JE, et al. Estrogen therapy and coronary-artery calcification. N Engl J Med. 2007 Jun 21;356(25):2591-602.5. Anderson GL, et al. Effects of conjugated equine estrogen in postmenopausal women with hysterectomy: the Women's Health Initiative randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2004 Apr 14;291(14):1701-12.6. Fournier A, et al. Unequal risks for breast cancer associated with different hormone replacement therapies: results from the E3N cohort study. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2008 Jan;107(1):103-11. Epub 2007 Feb 27.7. Fournier A, et al. Breast cancer risk in relation to different types of hormone replacement therapy in the E3N-EPIC cohort. Int J Cancer. 2005 Apr 10;114(3):448-54.8. Opatrny L, et al. Hormone replacement therapy use and variations in the risk of breast cancer. BJOG. 2008 Jan;115(2):169-75; discussion 175.9. Canonico M, et al. Hormone therapy and venous thromboembolism among postmenopausal women: impact of the route of estrogen administration and progestogens: the ESTHER study. Circulation. 2007 Feb 20;115(7):840-5.10. Moskowitz D. A comprehensive review of the safety and efficacy of bioidentical hormones for the management of menopause and related health risks. Altern Med Rev. 2006 Sep;11(3):208-23.11. Holtorf K. The bioidentical hormone debate: are bioidentical hormones (estradiol, estriol, and progesterone) safer or more efficacious than commonly used synthetic versions in hormone replacement therapy? Postgrad Med. 2009 Jan;121(1):73-85.12. Bassil N, et al. The benefits and risks of testosterone replacement therapy: a review. Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2009 Jun;5(3):427-48. Epub 2009 Jun 22.13. Premaor MO, et al. Obesity and Fractures in Postmenopausal Women. J Bone Miner Res. 2009 Oct 12.14. Pirro M, et al. High weight or body mass index increase the risk of vertebral fractures in postmenopausal osteoporotic women. J Bone Miner Metab. 2009 Jul 4.15. El Maghraoui A, et al. Body mass index and gynecological factors as determinants of bone mass in healthy Moroccan women.Maturitas. 2007 Apr 20;56(4):375-82. Epub 2006 Nov 28.16. Barrera G, et al. A high body mass index protects against femoral neck osteoporosis in healthy elderly subjects. Nutrition. 2004 Sep;20(9):769-71.17. Travison TG, et al. The relationship between body composition and bone mineral content: threshold effects in a racially and ethnically diverse group of men. Osteoporos Int. 2008 Jan;19(1):29-38. Epub 2007 Jul 28.Suggest a correctionMORE:HEALTHY LIVINGHEALTHWOMENOSTEOPOROSISBONE HEALTHMILKBONESWELLNESSMEDICINEWOMEN'S HEALTHJoseph Sciabbarrasi, M.D., ContributorJoseph Sciabbarrasi, M.D. has been a pioneer and practitioner of Integrative Medicine for over 30 years.
  • macb04
    macb04 Member Posts: 756

    I wonder if other women experiencing Female Pattern Hair Loss are aware that Bioidentical Progesterone is helpful for that.

  • macb04
    macb04 Member Posts: 756

    Bioidentical Progesterone helps me sleep more deeply. Anyone else notice that?

  • dtad
    dtad Member Posts: 771

    Hi everyone...just want to add that you will be hard pressed to find a MO who is willing to discuss this. They simply are not educated on the subject of female hormones, which is sad. This is exactly why IMO there should be an endocrinologist or gynecologist on our BC team. I do feel that adding hormones rather than taking them away is somewhere down the road. Probably a long road! Good luck to all

  • macb04
    macb04 Member Posts: 756

    You're right dtad, most of the bc providers know next to nothing about the need for hormonal balance to have a decent quality of life and health.

    I too feel there will eventually be a complete turn around in regards to the use of Bioidentical hormones in care of women after bc. Eventually they will wake up and realize they have been doing most of this terribly wrong.

    There are providers, even now in oncology, who are at the forefront of this new/old thinking, that properly balanced hormones are crucial for good health. If we keep pushing for more knowledge like this to be shared, to educate the doctors, we can only help ourselves, and the poor women who will come after us.

  • macb04
    macb04 Member Posts: 756

    I am so very glad that I found out about Bioidentical Progesterone. My sleep is so much better since I started taking it.

  • debal
    debal Member Posts: 600


    Had a fairly long conversation with my dr today. She specializes in treating post menopausal women only. I cant imagine listening to 8 of me all day long lol.. anyway. Would love to hear experiences with bioidentical progesterone. She was really on board with giving this a try.

  • rah2464
    rah2464 Member Posts: 1,192

    DebAl, glad you get to try this. I am PR+ so a no go for me. I did get to take this for a couple of years before my BC diagnosis, was wonderful. The only thing to watch for is oral route can exacerbate acid reflux issues.