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Topic: bioidentical hormones

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: Aug 25, 2010 03:55PM

terri01 wrote:

I just posted in another forum, but maybe this one is more appropriate.  What is the general opinion on BHRT in relation to breast cancer, does it increase risk.

 I just found out today from my breast advocate that just having a biopsy, even with benign results increases risk of breast cancer.   It seems like there isn't anything out there that doesn't increase risk of breast cancer or another type of cancer for that matter.

 Thanks in advance for any knowledge one can spare


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Aug 25, 2010 06:46PM SJW1 wrote:


There are no studies that show that bio-identical progesterone increases the risk of breast cancer. In fact several show that it is protective. This is not true of progestin, which is not biologically identical to the progesterone your body makes.

Hope this helps a little.


Dx 6/22/2007, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Aug 26, 2010 09:13AM - edited Aug 26, 2010 09:16AM by Husband11

There isn't enough evidence either way to draw a firm conclusion.  There is some recent work by Michigan State University that suggests a role that progesterone may play in facilitating breast cancer.  As I say, no firm answer, proceed at your own risk.


Concerned husband Dx 2008, Left, Stage IIIB, Grade 3, 7/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 5/2016, Stage IV, metastasized to liver, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy Femara (letrozole) Targeted Therapy Ibrance (palbociclib) Chemotherapy Xeloda (capecitabine)
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Aug 26, 2010 09:28AM dlb823 wrote:

I'm with Timothy on this, especially after something the integrative specialist at UCLA recently pointed out to me, which is -- even if a hormone is bioidentical, if your body isn't making it and you're adding it, then it's not exactly natural in the same sense as if it was naturally there.  This idea has stopped me from kicking myself for not switching to bioidentical hormones years ago (instead of the Prempro I was on when dx'd), and it's also stopped me from dabbling with Progesterone Cream, which I had done since my bc dx.  Also, I've noticed quite a few women on BCO who were on bioidentical hormones when dx'd.  I'm not saying they're not safe.  I honestly don't know, which is what the doctors I most respect have told me -- we just don't know.   Deanna

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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Aug 26, 2010 10:18AM - edited Aug 26, 2010 10:22AM by mathteacher

Actually, Timothy, that press release refers to a study where researchers put rodent "organoids" in a blender with progestins and progesterones and they turned red. From this, the researchers concluded the redness must be inflammation. From that conclusion, they suggested if it was inflammation then it may be linked to breast cancer.

This study's conclusions are an extrapolation from an extrapolation from pieces of rodent organs. This is not science.

The press release is completely misleading and the authors of the study should have caught the misrepresentations put out by the MSU PR department.

This study was discussed on another forum as an example of misleading research.

When in doubt, read the actual studies and do the math.
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Sep 2, 2010 05:32AM nlm wrote:

One of my friends has a fellowship in bio identical hormones, and she said no to me when I asked about them.


Dx12/09' multifocal 3mm&5mm. ER/PR + HER2- 0/2 nodes, stage 1 grade 2 ONCO dx16', bmx 1/10, femara
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Sep 2, 2010 10:27AM - edited Nov 11, 2010 12:44PM by lucy88

I've been taking bioidenticals for years after diagnosis of my ER+/PR+ cancer with my doctors blessing. There is published evidence but nobody bothers to read it. PM me if you want more info.

"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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Oct 20, 2010 11:21PM - edited Oct 20, 2010 11:24PM by asschercut

Sorry ladies, I went back 24 eye bulging pages and didn't know where to post this.

This is all the buzz in our health news today...October 20, 2010, 12:20 pm

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can increase the risk of more advanced, potentially deadly breast cancer, a study has shown.

Death rates from the disease were found to double in a group of women who underwent HRT for an average 5.6 years.

A link between HRT and breast cancer in post-menopausal women is well known, and was demonstrated by a large American study called the Women's Health Initiative (WHI).

Now new findings from the WHI show that use of oestrogen plus progestin hormone therapy increases the incidence of more advanced forms of breast cancer.

It is also associated with a higher risk of deaths attributed to the disease.

Women taking part in the study were either given combination HRT or a dummy "placebo" pill.

Almost 13,000 women consented to having their condition monitored for an extended 11-year period after treatment.

Invasive breast cancer occurred in 385 women who received hormone treatment compared with 293 who did not.

A significantly larger percentage of women in the HRT group had breast cancers that had spread to the lymph glands.

There were 25 deaths from breast cancer among the HRT group and 12 among the placebo group. At a population level, this was the equivalent of 2.6 against 1.3 deaths per 10,000 women per year.

The findings were reported in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Rowan Chlebowski, from the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, and colleagues wrote: "With some exceptions, the preponderance of observational studies have associated combined hormone therapy use with an increase in breast cancers that have favourable characteristics, lower stage, and longer survival compared with breast cancers diagnosed in non-users of hormone therapy.

"However, in the WHI randomised trial, combined hormone therapy increased breast cancer risk and interfered with breast cancer detection, leading to cancers being diagnosed at more advanced stages.

"Now, with longer follow-up results available, there remains a cumulative, statistically significant increase in breast cancers in the combined hormone therapy group, and the cancers more commonly had lymph node involvement.

The observed adverse influence on breast cancer mortality of combined hormone therapy can reasonably be explained by the influence on breast cancer incidence and stage."


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Oct 21, 2010 06:24AM educateoneself wrote:

watch those wiesel word like suggests, may,more study needed etc...Most studies get reversed after about 5 years...But the public never hears about them getting reversed...

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Oct 21, 2010 09:02AM lbrewer wrote:

Please note that the study talked about HRT and progestin.  These are NOT studies of bio-identical hormones, they are studying the use of synthetic hormones such as Prempro and Premarin. 

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Oct 21, 2010 12:30PM Nan wrote:

Dear Victoria,

Can you provide the link for what you posted? I heard this on the news the other day, and cannot locate it to print out for my PCP. My daughter (dx TNBC in 2007), and I are on Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy but more women need to be aware of this recent news.

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Oct 21, 2010 12:39PM lucy88 wrote:

This was a study following women, average age 67, who were taking Prempro, the combination of synthetic estrogen and that specific toxic progestin, Provera.

It does not apply to bioidenticals.

"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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Oct 22, 2010 12:39AM - edited Oct 22, 2010 08:19AM by asschercut

G'Day ladies!

Flog me for not posting a link...I respond well to discipline...ish...;)

Yes as the news article states this is clearly a report on HRT ONLY.  Perhaps I should've started a "Latest News" Thread?

I was watching it on the morning news...and a lady from the US was stating that she believed she developed stage I BC cancer...and now has stage IV BC that has spread to her lungs and brain, due to HRT. They then discussed the above research on the morning news, on channel nine. It was also discussed again this morning...as many women had concerns. Dr Kerryn Phelps confirmed that there were dangers to using HRT...and said that it should only be used as a last resort if one had severe symptoms, and for a short period of time. She continued to say that women should try a safer more natural therapy. I will see if there is a link to the video of yesterday's show.

Here's the link to the above post...



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Oct 22, 2010 02:09PM Jaybird627 wrote:

I'm reading Suzanne Somers' "Ageless..." and find it fascinating. I know there have been threads about her/her books/bioidentical hormones here in the past.

Anyone here have any positive info about this subject? I am doing some research in finding a doctor in my area (Chicagoland) to see about this subject and my declining hormone issues. Is there a better thread for me to post on?

Thanks! Janis

Jaybird. My hopes are not always realized, but I always hope - Ovid.
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Nov 1, 2010 12:55PM Mountains1day wrote:

I was on bio-identical Progesterone for 3 years to balance an estrogen dominence....until bc diagnosis.  There are studies that suggest Progesterone therapy induces inflammation and therefore may cause bc.

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Nov 1, 2010 01:16PM mathteacher wrote:

Please send us the studies.

When in doubt, read the actual studies and do the math.
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Nov 1, 2010 01:19PM Mountains1day wrote:

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Nov 1, 2010 01:45PM - edited Nov 1, 2010 01:56PM by Nan

I believe this is referring to pharmaceutical hormone replacement, and not bio-identical/natural hormone replacement therapy.Everything that I have read on BHRT states that (natural)progesterone protects against bc.This is what they give to women going through invitro fertilization.





Taken from the previous link....

But the typical doctor if you ask "What is that Provera", they say "Oh that is progesterone". You don't know, maybe they can't read the PDR !!
So a progestin is the word that has been arrived at meaning compounds that have progesterone like properties, but are not progesterone and are synthetic, and you can add to that, they don't have the full spectrum of all of progesterone's benefits, and they are loaded with side effects.
So progestin is the name of the artificial synthetic drug that is sold by the doctor thinking it is progesterone.
Real progesterone is the one made from the plants.
Doctors know that real progesterone must be used for invetro fertilizations - Provera won't work.

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Nov 1, 2010 01:56PM - edited Nov 1, 2010 02:06PM by mathteacher

Thank you, mountains1day. That url is a press release for a news story. But the news release mispresents the study.

That one study they refer to shot around the internet. When you read the actual study, it turns out they mushed a bunch of rat organs with progestins and progesterone. The mush got red and so they are claiming this means the mushed rat organs got inflamed. From one claim they leap to the second claim that the progesterone may cause cancer because inflammation is associated with breast cancer.

I guess everybody has to draw their own conclusions or their own questions.

Thanks for reminding us about this story. It is a great example of headlines vs facts.

When in doubt, read the actual studies and do the math.
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Nov 1, 2010 02:15PM Mountains1day wrote:


Please provide the actual study results about "mushed a bunch of rat organs w/progestins and progesterone" and how it pertains to this study article because I don't think we are talking about the same study.  Also, "mush got red so they are claiming this means the mushed rat organs got inflamed"  If this is your own interpretation, well, thanks, but that's not what I read!  

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Nov 1, 2010 02:25PM mathteacher wrote:

My point exactly. That's the difference between a press release and an actual study.

I bought the actual study thru my library. I'm sure you can get it that way. If you are yelling at me over a press release, I think I will bow out. I was only trying to help. Sorry I bothered to reply.

When in doubt, read the actual studies and do the math.
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Nov 1, 2010 02:44PM - edited Nov 1, 2010 03:08PM by Mountains1day

In the Pepi Trial, they found that micronized/natural progesterone increased mammography density, thus bc risk, to nearly the same extent as other types of HRT.

BHRT or HRT a comparison.  A product that is plant based and bioidentical may sound more natural than other forms of HRT.  But it's debatable as to whether it really is.

Mathteacher, would you please share what the actual study of this news,msu.edu/story/6713 that you got from your library?  I don't want you to go away but you do realize how absurd the "mushed rat organs in blender" theory sounds? I just want to know if the study actually states these things or if it your own interpretation OR could it be a different study you are referring to?  Please, I was so kind to provide you a link to a study I was referring to when you asked, please do the same.  Thanks kindly.

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Nov 1, 2010 03:47PM thenewme wrote:

I asked on another thread about the REAL (beneficial) difference between HRT and BHRT, and so far nobody has provided any meaningful difference.  In this case, some posters are referring to progesterone versus synthetic progestin.  Here's what I find:   (Source HERE)

"  PROMETRIUM Capsules are an oral dosage form of micronized progesterone which is chemically identical to progesterone of ovarian origin. The oral bioavailability of progesterone is increased through micronization.


The use of estrogens and progestins by postmenopausal women has been reported to increase the risk of breast cancer. The most important randomized clinical trial providing information about this issue is the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) substudy of CE/MPA. (See CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, Clinical Studies.) The results from observational studies are generally consistent with those of the WHI clinical trial and report no significant variation in the risk of breast cancer among different estrogens or progestins, doses, or routes of administration.

The CE/MPA substudy of WHI reported an increased risk of breast cancer in women who took CE/MPA for a mean follow-up of 5.6 years. Observational studies have also reported an increased risk for estrogen/progestin combination therapy, and a smaller increased risk for estrogen alone therapy, after several years of use. In the WHI trial and from observational studies, the excess risk increased with duration of use. From observational studies, the risk appeared to return to baseline in about five years after stopping treatment. In addition, observational studies suggest that the risk of breast cancer was greater, and became apparent earlier, with estrogen/progestin combination therapy as compared to estrogen alone therapy.

In the CE/MPA substudy, 26% of the women reported prior use of estrogen alone and/or estrogen/progestin combination hormone therapy. After a mean follow-up of 5.6 years during the clinical trial, the overall relative risk of invasive breast cancer was 1.24 (95% confidence interval 1.01-1.54), and the overall absolute risk was 41 vs. 33 cases per 10,000 women-years, for CE/MPA compared with placebo. Among women who reported prior use of hormone therapy, the relative risk of invasive breast cancer was 1.86, and the absolute risk was 46 vs. 25 cases per 10,000 women-years, for CE/MPA compared with placebo. Among women who reported no prior use of hormone therapy, the relative risk of invasive breast cancer was 1.09, and the absolute risk was 40 vs. 36 cases per 10,000 women-years for CE/MPA compared with placebo. In the same substudy, invasive breast cancers were larger and diagnosed at a more advanced stage in the CE/MPA group compared with the placebo group. Metastatic disease was rare with no apparent difference between the two groups. Other prognostic factors such as histologic subtype, grade and hormone receptor status did not differ between the groups.

The use of estrogen plus progestin has been reported to result in an increase in abnormal mammograms requiring further evaluation. All women should receive yearly breast examinations by a healthcare provider and perform monthly breast self-examinations. In addition, mammography examinations should be scheduled based on patient age, risk factors, and prior mammogram results."

Dx 11/2008, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 0/9 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Nov 1, 2010 04:13PM thenewme wrote:

Hi Mathteacher,

Any chance this is the study you're thinking of?

Progesterone receptor A-regulated gene expression in mammary organoid cultures

Although this study basically *does* use what amounts to mushed up rat guts, isn't that a sort of overly simplistic way of dismissing the research, especially for one so insistent on distinguishing facts from hype?  

The study itself says, "Progesterone (P) plays an important role in the development and differentiation of the normal mammary gland and has been implicated in increasing breast cancer risk [1, 2]" and then it goes on to attempt to further clarify this relationship between breast cancer risk and progesterone. 

It sounds as if you're saying that progesterone does not increase breast cancer risk (and may, in fact, be preventive).  Is that the case? The scientific studies seem to all point to at the very least a likely link, so hopefully you can clarify and share what your implications are based on? Please help us sort the headlines from the facts!

Dx 11/2008, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 0/9 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Nov 1, 2010 05:40PM - edited Nov 1, 2010 05:43PM by Mountains1day

Thank you, thenewme, for clearing up the confusion about this study news,msu.edu/story/6713 and you provide a good bit of information as well.   I wish I had this kind of information before I started using Progesterone (BHRT) but no, I was reading what Somers and Dr. Lee said about it at the time, wanting to believe I was replacing my hormones the natural way.  Only problem was, I was at high risk for bc and I thought Progesterone would help in reducing that risk.  As more and more scientific studies reveal, HRT and BHRT are one of same and should be avoided in high risk women, perhaps in all women. 

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Nov 1, 2010 09:55PM thenewme wrote:

Hi Mountains1day,

You're so welcome.  I hate that you were misled and I hate that there's so much misinformation out there from people trying to make money from dishonest/unethical "medical advice."  I honestly don't get it.   Even though Dr. Lee has been dead for 7 years and his website has not been updated since then, and even though the sole purpose for his site seems to be the sales of old, outdated and obsolete information and products, some people continue to insist he's The Expert on BHRT??? 

As for Suzanne Somers, I'll have to bite my tongue on that one except to say that she has absolutely NO business offering any kind of medical advice (despite the disingenuous disclaimers that she's not giving advice but merely telling others what she has chosen. Bah.).

It makes me frustrated, disgusted, and sometimes downright angry to read false claims, misinformation, and twisted interpretations that have the potential to influence people's decisions on something as critial as breast cancer treatment.

I've done a lot of research, looking for more information on BHRT, especially since I'm triple negative and have pretty much exhausted all "conventional" forms of treatment and still face an unnervingly-high risk of recurrance and so I'm always looking to see what more I can do.  I've asked and asked  and have yet to find out the secret of what, specifically, makes BHRT better/more effective/safer than conventional HRT, which at this point I'm not willing to risk my life on.  

Dx 11/2008, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 0/9 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Nov 1, 2010 10:52PM - edited Aug 20, 2013 05:04AM by Kathy044

Edited to say:Whoops look like you got here ahead of me thenewme. Thanks for your explanation. I wrote:

Here is the actual study, or at least one of them.


Small quote: " Cultures grown in the presence of P demonstrated similar proliferative and morphological responses to those treated with R5020 (Fig. 1A, B), verifying that these responses are not specific to the particular progestin used in this study. "

R5020, a progestin, was used in the study because it was more stable than  P (progesterone)

Dx 2009, ILC, Right, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 1/15 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/28/2009 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary Chemotherapy 12/15/2009 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Ellence (epirubicin), Fluorouracil (5-fluorouracil, 5-FU, Adrucil), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 5/1/2010 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 6/3/2010 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Nov 2, 2010 09:03AM thenewme wrote:

Hi Kathy044,

Thanks for sharing!  Your quote is probably more concise than what I posted, and it's what keeps me wondering why some people insist that progesterone is "good" and progestin is "bad" (or BHRT is "good and HRT is "bad.")  From your quote and mine above, it seems that both are equally implicated in BC risk.

"...no significant variation in the risk of breast cancer among different estrogens or progestins, doses, or routes of administration."

Dx 11/2008, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 0/9 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Nov 8, 2010 09:41PM fairy49 wrote:

Hi lovely ladies!! its been a while!Surprised has anyone tried bi-est of tri-est since dx?



DX 9-22-08 IDC 1.1cm Stage 1 Grade 2 SNB 0/5 ER+ PR+ HER- Bi-Lat Mas re-con,tissue expanders on 10/29 - Exchange to silicone implants on 3/6/09 Oncotype DX Score 9 - BRCA 1 & 2 Negative.....If God brings you to it, he WILL get you through it
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Nov 9, 2010 05:29PM MsBliss wrote:

Well, it reminds me of the "studies" on vitamin E--they use a synthetic Alpha molecule, which is denatured, instead of the full spectrum E, and call it a day.  Again, they paint progesterone as if it was progestin.  Progestin is the issue in this study.  Progestin is not a nice molecule--it is a denatured and patented molecule distantly related to progesterone and it causes cancer.  Progesterone is an entirely different molecule.  The study being bandied here is about progestin based HRT. 

Funny how they don't refer to the progestin based birth control pills so many of us took, what, so, those are okay?  They are very high in progestins. 

Thenewme, I read the study and the raw data--they used progestins, and they are only referring to progestins, but the author very mysteriously intermixed progesterone with progestin in the narrative.  This remains a very sloppy and poorly completely study.

Dx 3/09 Triple negative, stg1, SNB0/2, BRCA neg, CHEK 2 pos, 1.4cm plus 7mm DCIS, ki67 70-90%, lumpectomy w/re-excision, no chemo/no rads due to delays from secondary health issues; evidence based interventions.
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Nov 9, 2010 07:54PM thenewme wrote:

Hi MsBliss,

The study compared responses with progestin to progesterone. The report says

"The cultures grown in the presence of P [progesterone] demonstrated similar proliferative and morphological responses to those treated with R5020 [synthetic progestin] (Fig. 1A, B), verifying that these responses are not specific to the particular progestin used in this study."

What that says to me is that the responses were the same for progestin vs progestorone. Are you reading it differently?

The drug labeling information for Prometrium (progesterone) also indicates  no difference.  It seems that the distinction between the terms progesterone and progestins are most often used by BHRT advocates, despite the warnings  about their relation to breast cancer.

• Progesterone with or without estrogens should not be used to prevent heart attacks or heart disease.
• Using estrogens with or without progestins may increase your chances of getting heart attacks, strokes, breast cancer, and blood  clots. Using estrogens with progestins may increase your risk of dementia. You and your healthcare provider should talk regularly  about whether you still need treatment with PROMETRIUM Capsules. "

Dx 11/2008, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 0/9 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-

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