Why I Chose Against Hormone Blocking Drugs
Every single day I am contacted by women who are either going through breast cancer treatments or have finished their treatments and have been prescribed estrogen blocking drugs like tamoxifen (Nolvadex), anastrozole (Arimidex), exemestane (Aromasin), letrozole (Femara), raloxifene (Evista).
Many of these drugs are also known as aromatase inhibitors because they deactive a key enzyme (aromatase) that is responsible for a key step in the biosynthesis of estrogen.
Why Women Are Prescribed Hormone Blockers
A breast tumor is called “estrogen receptor positive” or “ER+” if it has receptors for estrogen – this suggests that the cancer cells, like normal breast cells, may receive signals from the hormone estrogen that could promote their growth. The cancer is termed “progesterone receptor positive” or “PR+” if it has progesterone receptors. Again, this means that the cancer cells may receive signals from progesterone that could promote their growth. According to BreastCancer.org, roughly two out of every three breast cancers test positive for hormone receptors.
The women who are contacting me are very concerned about the side effects of such medications, they are researching and wanting to know more and they are wondering if there are any natural products that will do the same job without the side effects.
My Personal History
I went through breast cancer in 2004. If you’d like to read my whole story, check out my Breast Cancer Diary page. Briefly, however, I had a 2.5 cm tumor, about the size of an olive, and it was a rapidly growing tumor known as infiltrating ductal carcinoma. I had a large lumpectomy and a latissimus-dorsi flap reconstruction. I was recommended to have chemotherapy right away, but being a natural therapist I needed to be convinced of the necessity of that, so I went home to heal up and work on my immune system. Eventually both my oncologist and my natural therapists convinced me that it would be beneficial for me to undergo chemotherapy and I did 6 months worth. I chose not to have radiation for various reasons, and although both my oncologist and my regular doctor tried hard to get me to say yes to the hormone blocking drugs, I just could not be convinced that this was a good route for me to follow. For one thing, I was progesterone receptor positive only, which is somewhat unusual. I couldn’t see how tamoxifen, which is used as an estrogen-blocker, was going to help me since I was PR+. My doctors argued it would “still have some therapeutic benefit.” I wasn’t convinced, and especially when I read about the side effects of these drugs. Instead I went home and went into deep research mode. Here’s what I found.
1. Some research indicated that tamoxifen was more useful in elderly and frail women and it removed the need for surgery in a high proportion of those women. (Akhtar SS, et al. A 10-year experience of tamoxifen as primary treatment of breast cancer in 100 elderly and frail patients. Eur J Surg Oncol. 1991; 17:30-5.)
2. The Institute of Cancer Epidemiology in Copenhagen studied 3,500 post-menopausal women who received surgery for breast cancer. About half of these patients were considered to be low risk and received no further treatment. The high risk patients received either radiotherapy or radiotherapy plus tamoxifen. After about 8 years, the scientists looked at the incidence of cancer in these women. All 3 groups had more cancer than the general population and for those who had received radiotherapy there was a higher incidence of leukemia. There was no difference in cancer incidence in the high risk group that received tamoxifen plus radiotherapy compared to those who just received radiotherapy, indicating that tamoxifen did not confer any special protective effects. In fact, there was a tendency to an elevated risk of endometrial cancer. (Andersson M, et al. Incidence of new primary cancers after adjuvant tamoxifen therapy and radiotherapy for early breast cancer: J Natl Cancer Inst. 1991; 83:1013-7.)
3. The McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research of the University of Wisconsin studied rats given tamoxifen. At first, all appeared okay, but when the rats were also given a small dose of chemicals and then fed tamoxifen, the livers of these animals showed an increase in the size and number of altered liver lesions compared with the animals that had been fed the chemicals but not the tamoxifen. The researchers felt that tamoxifen acts as a tumor promoter in the rat liver, that it was four times the strength of phenobarbital (a drug commonly used as a representative promoting agent in experimental carcinogenesis). (Dragan YP, et al. Tumor promotion as a target for estrogen/anti-estrogen effects in rat hepatocarcinogenesis. Prev Med. 1991; 20:15-26).
4. There were too many disturbing reports of eye damage from the use of tamixofen. In one article that appeared in the Annals of Ophthalmology, I read about toxicity to the cornea, retina and optic nerve. And though it seemed that the damage did not progress once the drug was stopped, it could not be repaired. (Gerner EW. Ocular toxicity of tamoxifen. Annals of Ophthalmology 1989; 21:420-3). I had enough problems with my vision, I certainly didn’t need any more.
I could go on and on here, citing all of the research that I did – and yes this research is a little older, I went through breast cancer in 2004, as I mentioned.
Possible Side Effects of Hormone Blocking Drugs
The list of possible side effects of these drugs is lengthy: hot flashes, vaginal dryness, headaches, muscle, joint and body aches, dry mouth, nausea and vomiting, changes in bowel habits, muscle weakness, fatigue, increased risk of liver cancer, precancerous changes in the uterus, blood clots which could travel to the lungs and cause pulmonary embolism or a stroke, cataracts and other vision changes.
I just wasn’t willing to submit my body to any of that.
It’s Time To Wake Up
What I am seeing as a breast cancer coach is a large quantity of women (more than I ever thought possible) who have taken the hormone blockers for the prescribed length of time (usually 5 years) and are coming to me with a new breast cancer.
We need to wake up people! These drugs are not working. They are toxic to our bodies and there are better ways of regaining our health. The thing is, you can’t just say no and do nothing else. You really need to be very pro-active with your health. If you don’t know what to do, feel free to sign up for my e-books and newsletters, I provide them as a free service to people going through breast cancer and I share all of my best tips and information in them (see the sign-up form on the right side of this page).
It’s Not All About Estrogen!
I have said this so many times lately, it’s starting to become my slogan. Estrogen is a hormone we want and need in our bodies. The doctors are so focused on the fact that there are estrogen receptors on our breast cancer cells but part of the problem is that there are synthetic estrogens in our body products, our drinking water, our cosmetics, our environment, and these are part of the problem with our health (see my article Protect Yourself From Xenoestrogens and Estrogen Dominance).
In her book “Molecules of Emotion“, author and scientist Candace Pert shares with us “… accumulated environmental pollutants within our bodies are mimicking and disrupting the action of our sex hormones — estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone — which run the male and female reproductive systems.” She goes on to state that “A recent report on receptor binding in Science, for example, has shown that environmental toxins have estrogenlike effects and bind to estrogen receptors, where they can stimulate breast cancer tumor growth. Similarly, various toxins can act like testosterone in the male body and stimulate prostate cancer, which is embryologically similar to breast cancer. Although this has been suspected for a long time, only recently have we gotten the hard proof that accumulation of these toxins in our bodies chronically stimulates our estrogen and testosterone receptors, putting them into a state of overdrive and leading to cancer.”
There are many other factors which put us at a higher risk for breast cancer, and right up there at the top of the list is STRESS. You can do little to avoid it but you certainly can change the way that you react to it. Try meditation to relieve that stress. Get yourself into a meditation group, or if you live in a remote area download my meditation course.
I also believe that it’s vitally important to build up your immune system to be as strong and healthy as it can be, since our immune system is our first line of defense against cancer cells. Why don’t the doctors tell you that? Any natural therapist certainly will. Have a look at my page 8 Ways To Build A Super Strong Immune System. How important are these 8 items? I believe they’re absolutely crucial. Give proper attention to each of the 8 items on the list and you will be much happier and healthier than if you are taking toxic drug therapies.
Cancer Therapy, The Independent Consumer’s Guide To Non-Toxic Treatment and Prevention by Ralph W Moss, PhD.
Molecules of Emotion by Candace B Pert, PhD.
If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters and e-book on the right, and/or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com). It is my honor and my goal to help you through this so that you emerge from breast cancer feeling better than before, thriving!
PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THIS BLOG POST IS INFORMATION I HAVE DISCOVERED FOR MYSELF. IT FEELS TRUE FOR ME. THE INFORMATION PRESENTED HERE IS NOT MEANT TO DIVERT YOU ON YOUR HEALING PATH, IT IS ONLY INTENDED TO RAISE AWARENESS OF OTHER WAYS OF THINKING. YOU MUST DO WHAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU.