Breast cancer is a formidable health concern for women across the globe. The stats are staggering and continue to skyrocket. It’s not solely determined by genetics; in fact, only 5-10% of cancers are linked to genetics. Breast cancer is a systemic disease in response to an abnormal, unhealthy environment. I have and will continue to discuss the unhealthy environment that increases the risk of breast cancer, but today, I will focus on Estrogen and the balance with Progesterone.
Hormones, these tiny chemical messengers in our bodies, play a huge role in how we function, especially in the context of breast cancer risk, as I have blogged about for some time. There are key players in the role of hormones and breast cancer risk – today, I will focus on estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
Estrogen, often called the “female hormone” or “sexy hormone,” is a prominent player in the orchestra, coordinating various bodily functions. It’s responsible for developing those female secondary sexual characteristics and keeping our menstrual cycles and pregnancies in check.
Many women are scared to death of Estrogen, as the media and their doctors have told them, “It causes breast cancer.” Thanks to the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Study that was released 20 years ago, the false narrative continues. Women, men, and children all have estrogen. It was given to us by God. It is essential for life and for conception. Why on earth would God give everyone estrogen if it causes breast cancer? In fact, Dr. Jennifer Simmons, renowned, former, prominent breast cancer surgeon in Philadelphia, now specializing in functional medicine, has said, “To say that estrogen causes breast cancer is absurd… When your body can’t access its own estrogen because the ovaries are shutting down, breast cancer becomes an issue!” Ladies, that is another reason why breast cancer is prevalent in menopausal women.
One other point that Dr. Simmons makes about the story of estrogen causing breast cancer is because of Big Pharma. We have drugs that block estrogen synthesis and act on the estrogen receptors. She states, “so the explanation of estrogen causing breast cancer is for the purpose of utilizing these drugs, NOT because estrogen causes breast cancer.” There you have it!
Now, let me get back to the WHI study – it was synthetic estrogen and synthetic progesterone that caused the problems noted in that study. They used Pregnant Mare Urine, aka PreMarIn. The WHI results have now been revised and clarified to show that even though they used synthetic estrogen, there was still some protective benefit to women’s breasts who were given the Premarin. The problem is that the media did NOT make a huge campaign about this. You have NOT been notified of this, nor has your doctor.
Anyone who has followed me for some time or read previous blogs knows that I talk a great deal about estrogen dominance. In our modern world, we are bombarded by toxic, look-alike, foreign estrogens called “xeno-estrogens,” or “fake estrogens,” “hormone mimickers,” “endocrine disruptors,” and “obesogens.” These toxins are in the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe, the clothes we wear, the personal care products that we use, and on and on!! Our young teens are dealing with the hormonal repercussions of these xenoestrogens, all the way up to our senior citizens. In fact, younger and younger women are being diagnosed with breast cancer because of these fake toxic estrogens.
As I described in this blog post, it’s the balance of estrogen to progesterone that is the problem. It’s a ratio issue. When there is too much estrogen, compared to progesterone, the risk of breast cancer dramatically increases. Dr. Yager and Davidson state in their paper that it’s essential to maintain a balance between estrogen and progesterone to reduce breast cancer risk.
Progesterone plays a superhero role in the hormone world, balancing out the high estrogens and protecting the breasts and the uterus, for that fact, from hormone-related cancers. Again, estrogen dominance is all about the ratio of Progesterone to Estrogen (the P:E ratio). If you are under tremendous stress, you are using up a lot of progesterone. Additionally, as we begin to transition through peri-menopause, our progesterone levels plummet, creating a bigger imbalance. In other words, we are losing the protective benefit of progesterone. That’s another reason that post-menopausal women are at such high risk for breast cancer.
What many, or rather most, providers are NOT discussing is estrogen metabolism. For over 20 years, I’ve been encouraging my clients to get their 2:16 ratio checked when they have blood labs drawn. The 2-OH (hydroxyl) and 16-OH pathways are easy to follow and can show how well your body, namely your liver – known as Phase 1 detoxification- is eliminating the toxins. Today, I can easily see this on the DUTCH test. Yet now I can track 4-OH metabolism, which has an even higher correlation with breast cancer. The 4-OH pathway produces what is referred to as Reactive Quinones that disrupt the DNA and cause damage.
Unfortunately, I am now seeing women in their late 20s and early 30s whose DUTCH tests reveal that they are on a Beeline trajectory for breast cancer with 16- OH and 4-OH levels that are very high. This can all be turned around by diet and lifestyle, but it’s not being mentioned in our traditional Western medicine approaches of the PINK campaign. Why not!
Increasing your cruciferous veggies can make a big difference in improving hormone metabolism. Another biggie – dramatically reduce or give up your alcohol. Alcohol taxes the liver and requires Glutathione (GSH) to metabolize- the same important detoxifying molecule that detoxes our hormones. You will not be detoxifying those toxic estrogens if you’re using your GSH to metabolize your nightly glass of wine. That’s just how the body works.
Compound interest and choice
Ladies, you get to choose each and every day what you expose yourself to. You get to choose if you will actively have a life of daily detoxing to protect yourself. It’s like compounding interest- every single choice matters for good or not. Every day, we choose if we will get ourselves off the breast cancer trajectory by reducing our toxic burden or not. Remember, when it comes to hormone balance and breast cancer, knowledge is power. So, keep reading and incorporating new healthy habits.
And follow me on Instagram @LoriFinlayNP.coach, as I will share reels and more information there in the next several weeks in preparation for my Oct. 25th Breast HEALTH Awareness Webinar.
To see if you have estrogen dominance, click here to take my FREE hormone quiz.
Here’s to your hormone balance and your breast health!