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Topic: Iodine, thyroid, and breast cancer??

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 14, 2009 09:46PM, edited Jul 27, 2009 12:26PM by Hindsfeet

Hindsfeet wrote:

 I wondered if there is a connection with my recent bc and hypothyroidism? This is sending me on a whole new track.

The thyroid and breast cancer: a significant association?"
Ann Med 1997 Jun;29(3):189-91
These researchers found that there's no clear evidence of a causal relationship - in that one disease causes the other - but there does appear to be an association between breast cancer and hypothyroidism, in particular. There's also some evidence that dietary iodine may affect breast cancer risk, and there's an increased likelihood of having breast cancer if one has an enlarged thyroid, known as a goiter.

Breast cancer in hypothyroid women using thyroid supplements.
JAMA 1984 Feb 3;251(5):616-9
This study found that use of thyroid supplements does not increase the risk of developing breast cancer.

Thyroid function after postoperative radiation therapy in patients with breast cancer. "
Acta Radiol Oncol 1986 May-Jun;25(3):167-70


Post-operative radiation therapy for breast cancer can damage the thyroid, so shielding of the thyroid is recommended during irradiation, as well as long-term follow-up of thyroid function with repeated thyroid testing

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Feb 17, 2009 12:45PM hollyann wrote:

It's very intersting reading all these posts on thyroid problems and BC connections........4 in my family (me, 2 sisters and our mother) all have had bc plus thyroid problems........My mother and 1 sister had hyperthyroidism before diagnosis and the other two of us had hypothyroidism before diagnosis.........i had the BRCA testing done and we do not carry those genes so I am wondering if the thyroid is the root cause for us, too......We have several family members with thyroid problems besides the 4 mentioned.......I too went on a salt free diet about 15 years ago because my husband's grandparents could not have sodium thus the iodine was gone from my diet....I wonder if this played a role too?.......I will ask my oncologist when I next see her...It will be interesting to find out what she says......Thank you, barry, for starting this thread.......Very interesting and brings up a lot of questions, also......Hugs.....Lucy

Hugs and Love....Lucy Dx 1-15-07 IDC stage 1b grade 1, 1.6 cm.....Also DCIS grade 3, both in left breast Dx 1/15/2007, IDC, 1cm, Stage Ib, Grade 1, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 17, 2009 02:24PM althea wrote:

Dejaboo, if you're walking around during the day a full degree below normal, it might be worthwhile to see if your temp before rising is even lower. 

Y'know, LJ13, if you hang around here long enough, the FDA might just come tumbling off that pedestal where you've placed it.  I don't know if you really have aching joints or if you're here to make your sarcastic presence known, but I had an aching hip last year.  The pain disappeared shortly after I started putting a slice of ginger in my juice every day.  

hollyann, I'd wager a guess that your onc will tell you what the FDA says is the recommended daily dose.  FDA says 150 micrograms per day and it starts being toxic at 1100 mcg.  Yet, the Japanese, who have a much lower rate of bc than here, have a typical diet of 13 milligrams per day.  Huge difference.  

If anyone is thinking of adding salt back into their diet, try some celtic sea salt.  It's not highly refined like the morton's salt, and it tastes sooo much better, you'll wonder why you ever ate morton's at all. 

Listen with a questioning ear. quote from George Ohsawa, founder of macrobiotics Dx 12/22/2004, ILC, 5cm, Stage II, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 17, 2009 02:50PM , edited Feb 17, 2009 02:51PM by LJ13

Althea, I never placed FDA on a pedestal. I just think that they're better than the anarchy of the supplement industry (Big Supplementa).

And yes, my joints actually hurt. It coincided with the start of rads. It didn't stop when rads stopped.

The docs believe it is a coincidence. It may be. My mother had arthritis something fierce in her later years. I suspect treatment in general may have just accelerated the overall aging process.

Worry is a misuse of the imagination.
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Feb 17, 2009 02:58PM Timothy wrote:

My wife had thyroid problems, as in hypothyroidism, being diagnosed and treated in the 3 years prior to diagnosis with breast cancer.  She also avoids salt like the plague.  The question is what to make of it?  Common problem and merely coincidental?  Or linked in some way?

Concerned husband
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Feb 17, 2009 03:40PM , edited Feb 17, 2009 03:57PM by anondenet

Timothy, you can google "iodine thyroid breast cancer" and see the research.

Iodine-deficient women tend to develop thyroid and breast issues. It looks like the thyroid doesn't cause breast cancer. But that BOTH the thyroid and breasts suffer from prolonged  iodine deficiency.

There was an article out there which showed that if you give rats chow and block iodine they will eventually develop breast disease. When researchers added back the iodine the rats' breasts got better.

We can't do that iodine restriction experiment on women but we may have done the experiment on ourselves. I've been eating non iodized sea salt for years :( thinking it was better.

Don't want to be defined by my stats-- this would be medical hexing.
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Feb 17, 2009 03:41PM althea wrote:

LJ, your self appointed mission to save women from the anarchy of supplements while holding up the FDA as the source of reliable information is truly your choice.  Unfortunately, all I have to offer is anecdotal regarding the aching joints.  Perhaps you could get the NIH to do a study that would prove to your satisfaction that something from the produce aisle could relieve your aching joints.  And while you're at it, perhaps they could explain to you why the FDA says iodine is toxic starting 1100 mcg/day when Japanese people have been consuming 13 mg of iodine per day for centuries, with a lower rate of breast cancer to boot. 

Listen with a questioning ear. quote from George Ohsawa, founder of macrobiotics Dx 12/22/2004, ILC, 5cm, Stage II, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 17, 2009 04:03PM LJ13 wrote:

Althea, they probably tolerate higher levels without symptoms of toxicity due to the higher consumption of goitrogens.

In addition, FDA doesn't decide toxic levels. Typically USDA sets RDA amounts. However, the 1100 mcg/day figure is sourced to the Institute of Medicine. But that's ok, you can blame FDA, after all, they are the SOURCE OF ALL EVIL.

There are plenty of approved pharmaceuticals and OTC drugs that deal with aching joints. Me, I tend to avoid taking anything, natural or prescribed or OTC, unless the symptom is pretty much intolerable. A bit of joint pain is well within my threshold.

Worry is a misuse of the imagination.
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Feb 17, 2009 04:11PM althea wrote:

Well, that certainly explains a lot. 

Listen with a questioning ear. quote from George Ohsawa, founder of macrobiotics Dx 12/22/2004, ILC, 5cm, Stage II, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 17, 2009 05:12PM , edited Jul 27, 2009 12:32PM by Hindsfeet

deleted

Dx 6/13/2014, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Feb 17, 2009 05:15PM FloridaLady wrote:

Thousands of ladies are brac1 or 2 positive and never get breast cancer. Why? Why would everyone with thyroid get cancer?  It's like any other medicine practice you can not apply everything to everyone.

Flalady

Hi barry...hope you had a good day.

trip neg stageIV spread to IBC (2X) & 7 recur's, Treat Alt & Conv
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Feb 17, 2009 07:37PM , edited Feb 17, 2009 07:49PM by Hindsfeet

Something from Mayo Clinic that I found interesting...especially for women who have had radiation.

Risk factors

Although anyone can develop hypothyroidism, it occurs mainly in women older than 50, and the risk of developing the disorder increases with age. You also have an increased risk if you:

  • Have a close relative, such as a parent or grandparent, with an autoimmune disease
  • Have been treated with radioactive iodine or anti-thyroid medications
  • Received radiation to your neck or upper chest
  • Have had thyroid surgery (partial thyroidectomy)

From another source:

What causes hypothyroidism?

In the United States, the most common cause is Hashimoto's thyroiditis. It causes the body's immune system to attack thyroid tissue. As a result, the gland can't make enough thyroid hormone.

Other things that can lead to low levels of thyroid hormone include surgery to remove the thyroid gland and radiation therapy for cancer...

Dx 6/13/2014, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Feb 17, 2009 08:21PM vivre wrote:

Gee Barry, now I have another reason to regret rads. I still do not know why they give us this overkill. I had clear nodes and wide margins. Why the hell did they put me through rads? I know it was my fault that I did not research it more, but when we are walking around in that cancer fog, who knows what we are supposed to ask? Why don't they tell us about all these risks? I had 3 doctors, and not one of them told me any thing except you will have some burning and probably be tired. I though, okay, I can handle that. Then I found out all the problems that are caused by rads. I sure hope my hormone doctor can help me with this when I go see her tomorrow.

Is that radioactive iodine the stuff they shoot into you when they are looking for your sentinel nodes before surgery? I had that stuff too! I want to scream right now.

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Feb 17, 2009 10:40PM peeps1111 wrote:

Hi:

I've been hypothyroid with a goiter since after my first child was born in 1982.  I always had a "fat neck" so perhaps had the goiter all my life.  I've been on synthroid since 1983, then added armour to the mix in 1997, still on both drugs.  Early menopause and fibromyalgia (which by the way also has a thyroid connection), then breast cancer in 2008.  My family used excessive amounts of salt so no connection there.  Interesting to see, since I just finished chemo and then rads, if any changes will take place in thyroid values. Interesting that although the thyroid produces several hormones, the drs. only focus on T4 and some now T3.  They have no idea about the other hormones that the thyroid produces.  Obviously those hormones DO have a purpose but you never hear about those.  Most people take the T4(synthroid) and go blindly on their way.

Vivre:  I loved your post about dying in peace.  I'm with you.  I told my dr. recently that I will NEVER take arimidex.  I am taking a month off to weigh my options.  I know they want me on something, so probably tamoxifen but I'd like to go the alternative route. I'm already taking several supplements and may just continue to do so.

Peeps

Dx 6/20/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 2, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Feb 17, 2009 10:55PM bluedahlia wrote:

Sometimes I feel like the blind following the blind.  I was diagnosed with bc October 2006 and just had my thyroid removed last Thursday due to thyroid cancer.  I did have rads as part of my bc treatment.  So now, when I take the radiation iodine pill, will it spur another bc or recurrence?  I bet no one in the medical profession will be able to answer that one for me.  I'm thinking I might just skip that pill as the cancer in my thyroid was contained.

But some people without brains do an awful lot of talking... don't they? - Scarecrow, Wizard of Oz.
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Feb 18, 2009 01:07AM , edited Jul 27, 2009 12:33PM by Hindsfeet

Like many of you have said, the doctors aren't sure what causes cancer...yet they throw poisonest fireworks at a disease that isn't understood. Someone said in another thread, why fight fire with fire. When I first discovered I had dcis, I wrestled with radiation and taxomifin. It wasn't a easy decision to go against the norm. I had the radioactive dye as well. It's amazing that we are rushed into treatment without knowing the side affects. When we're told we have cancer we feel as if we have to follow the doctor or die. This is why I like the alternate thread...people are thinking, searching and making choices that they are comfortable with.

Vivre, I also have regrets...mostly medical. I suppose this is why I don't want the power of choice to be taken away. I want to know what, and why and the side affects of any drug or treatment prescribed.

Bluedahlia, sorry to hear about your thyroid cancer. I'm not sure what the answer for you is...I guess if I was in your shoes I would be asking a lot of questions. What pill are they asking you to take?

Floidlady, I had a wonderful day! B Barry  

Dx 6/13/2014, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Feb 18, 2009 05:43AM anondenet wrote:

Bluedahlia,

Please read the story of the leader of the Yahoo Iodine Group. She has taken radioactive iodine for thyroid cancer and now regrets it . She also had fibrocystic breast disease and ovarian cysts. She followed a different path and now feels and looks ten years younger. There 2500 members in her group, including several doctors.

http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/iodine/

Don't want to be defined by my stats-- this would be medical hexing.
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Feb 18, 2009 04:27PM bluedahlia wrote:

Thank you for the link.

But some people without brains do an awful lot of talking... don't they? - Scarecrow, Wizard of Oz.
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Feb 28, 2009 11:02PM TriedbyFire wrote:

Why Do Hypothyroid Symptoms Disappear with Progesterone?

Dr. Lee reasons that thyroid and estrogen oppose each other. Estrogen causes food to be stored as fat. Thyroid hormone causes fat to be burned as energy. Patients with normal thyroid hormone levels measured by laboratory tests have symptoms that suggest they have hypothyroidism. When these same patients are given progesterone which is know to oppose estrogen their hypothyroid symptoms ceased. This implies that too much estrogen in the body, estrogen dominance, interferes with thyroid hormone action.
Dx 10/10/2008, DCIS, 2cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR-
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Feb 28, 2009 11:22PM , edited Feb 28, 2009 11:31PM by TriedbyFire

When humans lack iodine the thyroid gland enlarges (goiter), nodules appear in the thyroid gland and over a period of time cancer may appear in a thyroid nodule. Conventional medicine treats thyroid gland enlargement with thyroid hormone without considering the possibility that the hypothyroidism and goiter may be due to lack of iodine. This failure to diagnose and treat iodine deficiency can lead to an increased risk of breast cancer and the longer the diagnosis is missed the greater the chance that breast cancer will occur.

Iodine has a role in promoting general well being as well as protecting against infections, degenerative diseases and cancer. Iodine promotes the normal killing of defective and abnormal cells (apoptosis). Thus, iodine helps the body's surveillance system to detect and remove abnormal cells. Additionally, the presence of iodine triggers differentiation away from the more dangerous undifferentiated type of cell toward normal cells. The presence of adequate levels of iodine in the body (Japanese diet with lots of sea vegetables and fish) reduces reactive oxygen species (ROS). in the body which decreases the oxidative burden in the body This results in slowing of degeneration disease processes and decreasing the risk of cancer.

By Dr. James Howenstine, MD.
July 27, 2006
NewsWithViews.com

Dx 10/10/2008, DCIS, 2cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR-
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Mar 2, 2009 03:57PM Bee54 wrote:

Hi, I just wanted to tell my story,at the first of 2007, I went for my yearly at the gyno, she asked me if I had thyroid problems and I said no, it had been checked several times in my life but was always ok. Well she thought something wasn't right cause she said my eyes bug out alittle, ( it is a symptom of one of the thyroid deseases, forget which) I never ever noticed my eyes being buggy, so I must of had buggy eyes forever...lol. She did a pap smear, then sent me for blood test for thyroid. The blood test came once again as being ok, but the pap smear didn't come back ok. So I ended up having 2 biopsies and then having to have a total hysterectomy ( in May still 2007). My family doc sent me for some test around this same time, well the x-ray of my chest showed a spot on the lung, so he sent me for a pet scan, the techs, told me when they were done, that there shouldn't be any problems with my lung but did I have thyroid trouble. I told them no and they said well you do now, I looked  and my thyroid was really lit up. So doc sent me to a surgeon for a biopsy on my thyroid, it was cancer, had surgery to remove thyroid, took radioactive iodine pill, throid cancer is the only cancer that iodine will kill, so the pill is to make sure none of the cancer went anywhere else, then later, I have another pet scan, all was clear. Of couse now for the rest of my life I'm on thyroid medicine ( this surgery took place in Aug. 2007). I now thought everything was over with, ( they were for awhile). Fast forward to June 2008, I'm alittle late getting my yearly, then I'm sent for yearly mamo, it doesn't come back normal, so another mamo and ultra sound, both found a place in my rt. breast, but not the same thing, so I had to have a sterotactic biopsy for one and I'm not sure the exact name of the other biopsy. The sterotactic biopsy came back DCIS, the other was ok, doc gives me the choice of lumpectomy and rads or massectomy, I am totally confussed, so doctor decided to have an mri done on me, which showed another place on my rt breast. So I struggled with the decision untill the end of the year and finally went to a BS, he did a lumpectomy on me ( he thought that and rads would be all I needed) but the path report came back and no clear margins, he did 2 different places on my rt. breast and the other came back more DCIS. Sorry this is so long, well needless to say I had a bi-lateral mas. Feb. 3rd. I went ahead and did the left cause there was LCIS too and I didn't want to go through all this again. I ask all my doctors if the hysterectomy ( pre-cancerous), the thyroid cancer and the breast had anything to do with eachother, but they all keep saying that they don't, just seems funny to me that within a year I have had a pre-cancerous condition, thyroid cancer and breast cancer. Once again I'm very sorry this is so long, but I just wanted you all to know about my situation, cause I've always wondered about it all being related. Thanks so much for reading this, any comments would be appreciated. Take care,

Bee

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Mar 2, 2009 04:05PM , edited Mar 2, 2009 04:06PM by FloridaLady

Welcome Bee, 

Wow, lady what a year you had.  There is a lot of research about these two cancers and their connections. Hey your doctor should have just Goggle it.Wink

Do you have any daughters?  I've meet three ladies who had this happen and their daughter ended up having thyroid cancer and only one shows pre-cancerous bc.  If you do have them watched.

Are you in treatment right now? What is your receptor? I have found all of the thyroid ladies I have meet were ER+.

Flalady

trip neg stageIV spread to IBC (2X) & 7 recur's, Treat Alt & Conv
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Mar 2, 2009 05:31PM , edited Mar 3, 2009 12:04AM by Bee54

Floridalady

Thanks for the welcome, I have one daughter, she will soon be 16, I'm not sure what age to start having her get checked for things. No, I'm not in treatment, I go wed. for my first fill and also to an onc. but my BS doesn't think that I will need any further treatment, mine was all non-invasive cancer, so hopefully I'm cancer free. I hope the onc. agrees with BS cause I don't really want any other treatment, guess I'll just wait and see. I have no idea what my receptor is, I don't think they ever tested me or whatever they do to know this. Maybe onc. will.    Take care,

Bee

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Mar 2, 2009 06:12PM anondenet wrote:

Both thyroid cancer and breast cancer are iodine deficiency diseases. 

Women who have had thyroid cancer have a significant increase in the risk of breast cancer, especially for women ages 30 to 34, according to a report in the journal Cancer (Vol. 92, No. 2: 225-31).

Amy Chen, MD, and her colleagues from the departments of head and neck surgery, biomathematics, epidemiology, and endocrinology at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, wanted to find out whether or not there was a higher incidence of breast cancer in women who were previously treated for thyroid cancer, or if women who had breast cancer had a higher incidence of subsequent thyroid cancer. Both cancers are most frequently found in women, but only a single study had suggested there might be some relationship between the two.

The researchers examined information from the National Cancer Institute's SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results) database (which collects cancer information from 14 different regions of the country and covers about 14% of the US population). They examined the records of 365 women with both thyroid and breast cancer diagnosed between January 1973 and December 1994.

Breast Cancer Followed the Thyroid Cancer

The authors report that when the first cancer diagnosed was breast cancer, there was no subsequent increase in thyroid cancer. However, when the situation was reversed, and thyroid cancer was the first cancer diagnosed and breast cancer the second, there was a significant increase in the risk of breast cancer, in particular in women aged 30 to 34 where the risk was 1.9 times that expected for women in the same age group who had not had thyroid cancer.

The researchers also noted that this increased risk was found only in white, premenopausal women. Similar increases were not noted in African-American women (although the numbers of cases in this group was small). The greatest increased risk of breast cancer was found 15 to 20 years after the diagnosis and treatment of the thyroid cancer.

More Research Is Needed

Why this relationship exists is uncertain, according to the authors, who note their concern regarding the potential role of radioactive iodine in the treatment of the thyroid cancer as a possible factor.

Another possibility, the authors suggest, is that similar exposures to something in the environment may cause the relationship, but this is less likely since women diagnosed first with breast cancer did not later develop increased numbers of thyroid cancers.

What is important, the authors conclude at this time, is that these women and their physicians remember the importance of lifetime monitoring and cancer screening.

Source: American Cancer Society

http://www.cancer.org/docroot/NWS/content/NWS_1_1x_Thyroid_Cancer_and_Breast_Cancer_Linked_in_Women.asp

Don't want to be defined by my stats-- this would be medical hexing.
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Mar 3, 2009 12:16AM Bee54 wrote:

anomdene

Thank so much for the information, my docs tell me they don't have anything to do with the other one, but it sure seems strange. One other thing, I was 53 when diagnosed with the thyroid cancer, I don't really fit into the age group in the study.  But my DH tells me I don't fit into any age group,,,lol, he likes to tease me, just have to have laughter, it makes things in life not so scary. Thanks again...take care,

Bee

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Mar 3, 2009 08:54AM louishenry wrote:

I have been hypothyroid for many years. I also had DCIS. I questioned the corelation. Who knows? 1 in 8 women get invasive BC (even less get DCIS) and  I think 1 in 4 has a thyroid condition. So there is a lot of cross over. I tried armour 17 years ago. It is a very old fashioned way to treat the thyroid and it did not work for me. My levels did not regulate. I also had my iodine levels checked (I had a hard time finding a MD that believed in the theory, so I begged my brother who is a doc to give me script) and my levels were completely normal. So I guess that I tried to treat it naturally but   I kept having miscarriages. Thankfully, I got on synthroid and two kids!!  Bottom line, is there a corelation?? Who knows? But if there is, why haven't our BC numbers gone down? 

Dcis May 2007, 4 mm, grade 1-2, no rads recommended. Tamoxifen September 2007 .BRCA 1/2 Negative. Sis with LCIS
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Mar 3, 2009 10:46AM anondenet wrote:

The correlation has been out there for years. If Armour didn't work for you and Synthroid did, congratulations.

For most women, Armour works better. Check the all the internet Thyroid Groups and you will find that consistently, Armour is preferred over Synthroid.

Please note: BREAST CANCER RATES HAVE GONE UP AS IODINE CONSUMPTION HAS DECREASED by 50% in the last 30 years. This is according to the government's NHANES statistics. This isn't opinion. This is scientific data. Please check the research.

Don't want to be defined by my stats-- this would be medical hexing.
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Mar 3, 2009 11:10AM vivre wrote:

I said this before, but I would recommend again that you read "Natural hormone balance", by Dr. Uzzi Reiss. He talks about low progesterone as being the major cause of miscarriages (he was an ob/gyn. Low progesterone and low thyroid go hand in hand.  Also, low progesterone causes a hormone inbalance accounting for estrogen dominance. It is all connected for sure.

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Mar 3, 2009 01:15PM anondenet wrote:

Vivre is right. Progesterone not only stimulates the thyroid, but it enhances iodine uptake into the breast and thyroid. My OB gives progesterone (not progestins) to patients who have miscarried. It is prescribed right thru the pregnancy.

Don't want to be defined by my stats-- this would be medical hexing.
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Mar 3, 2009 01:51PM LJ13 wrote:

The increase in breast cancer rates is likely more due to the increase in obesity and lack of exercise, not to mention the spike caused by overmedicating women with hot flashes (HRT).

Attributing it solely to iodine consumption decreasing is not supported by any large scale, randomized, trials.

A Nom de Net you have described correlation, not causation. It is a common error for people who are not trained in statistical evaluation to make. Breast cancer has also increased as global warming has increased. Correlation, not causation.

Worry is a misuse of the imagination.
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Mar 3, 2009 01:54PM louishenry wrote:

I'll get that book today. Thank you. I would love to prevent a recurrance or a new primary. My progesterone levels were normal when I miscarried (4 times), but I was put on progesterone suppositoriesto be on the safe side. I still miscarried. I was very thin in my 20's, so maybe it had something to do with it. I don't know. I had a total hysterectomy in Nov because of fibroids. I took my ovaries because my DCIS was 99% er/pr positive. I know I'm menopausal but is there a test to see whatever estrogen that I have left is balanced by an adequate amount of progesterone?  Thanks

Dcis May 2007, 4 mm, grade 1-2, no rads recommended. Tamoxifen September 2007 .BRCA 1/2 Negative. Sis with LCIS

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