Hormone Synergy Web Site Hormone Synergy Health and Longevity Blog

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Testosterone and Prostate Cancer

Historically, testosterone was thought to cause prostate cancer. In fact, if your testosterone level is low, your doctor may still believe that giving you bioidentical testosterone will lead to cancer and he or she may caution you against it. It's very important to understand the current research regarding hormones and prostate cancer. A recent meta-analysis of 18 prospective studies examined the relationship between hormones and prostate cancer risk. Overall, data from nearly 4,000 men with prostate cancer and more than 6,000 control subjects (men without prostate cancer) was pooled. No association was seen between the risk of prostate cancer and levels of testosterone, free testosterone, or dihydrotestestosterone (DHT). In addition, there was no association with other hormones such as androstenedione, estradiol, or free estradiol.
Curiously, some studies have shown an association between low testosterone levels and prostate cancer. , In addition, other studies have reported that low testosterone levels are associated with more aggressive prostate cancers (advanced pathological stage and higher Gleason score). –

A recent pivotal study strongly suggests that testosterone supplementation does not lead to prostate cancer. In this study, 44 men with late-onset hypogonadism (low testosterone) were randomized to receive testosterone or placebo for 6 months. Prostate biopsies were performed prior to the study to rule out prostate cancer and to determine tissue levels of testosterone and DHT (dihydrotestosterone—the potent metabolite of testosterone) within the prostate gland itself. After six months, the 40 men who completed the study underwent repeat biopsies. Although testosterone treatment led to normal serum testosterone levels (median serum testosterone at baseline was 282 ng/dl versus 640 ng/dl after 6 mos), no significant changes were reported regarding levels of testosterone or DHT in the prostate, and no changes associated with prostate cancer were found.

Prostate cancer prevention

As you now know, one man in six will develop prostate cancer in his lifetime, and the risk increases with age. Most men with prostate cancer do not die from the disease. Prostate cancer may be preventable by following these guidelines:

• Eat more than two servings of lycopene rich foods per week (e.g., tomatoes, carrots, watermelon, and papaya).

• Include at least five servings of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, mustard greens, cabbage) in your diet every week.

• Keep meat consumption to a minimum (especially charred, barbequed, or processed meat).

• Avoid excess dairy products and saturated fat.

• If you're overweight or obese, commit to a weight-loss plan. Men who gain a significant amount of weight after age 21 have a higher risk for prostate cancer.

• Supplement with vitamins E and D, selenium, and fish oil.

In Health

Dr. Kathryn Retzler


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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Lowering your risk for Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women. A woman’s risk for breast cancer increases with age. Currently, a woman has approximately a 12% chance of developing breast cancer if she lives to be 90 years old; this also means her risk of not getting breast cancer is approximately 88%. Death rates from breast cancer have decreased since 1990. There were more than 180,000 cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed in the US in 2008 with 40,000 deaths. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths—lung cancer is the first. To some extent, breast cancer may be preventable.

Cancer occurs when cells divide and grow without restraint. The growth and death of cells is usually regulated; however, when normal cell regulators malfunction and cells don’t die at the proper rate, they continue to divide, and cancer can develop.

Breast cancer usually grows slowly. By the time a tumor is large enough to be felt as a lump, it may have been growing for 10 years and the spread of tumor cells (metastasis) may have already occurred. Therefore, screening methods such as mammography, ultrasound, MRI, or thermography, are important tools in providing early detection. In addition, preventive measures such as a healthy diet and lifestyle, nutritional supplementation, and exercise are crucial.

Knowing the risk factors for breast cancer can help you identify your specific risk. Breast cancer risk factors can be categorized as "modifiable" and "non-modifiable." Although non-modifiable risk factors cannot be altered, modifiable risk factors can be changed based on daily choices regarding diet, exercise, lifestyle habits, and stress management.

Non-modifiable risk factors for breast cancer include:

• Being female

• Advancing age

• Family history (mother, sister, or positive BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation)

• Early menarche (first menstrual period)

• Late menopause

• Diethylstilbestrol (DES) use by mother

Modifiable risk factors for breast cancer include:

• Obesity

• Lack of exercise

• Hormones: conventional HRT—synthetic progestins and, possibly, synthetic estrogens, depending on duration of use; birth control pills (some studies show this, some don't); bioidentical estrogen (depending on duration of use)

• Poor diet: high animal and trans fats, low fiber intake, deficient intake of fruits and vegetables

• Breast trauma

• Late age pregnancy, never having been pregnant, lack of breast feeding

• High alcohol intake (>1 drink per day)

• Cigarette smoking

• Working the "graveyard" shift

• Environmental toxin exposure (radiation, xenoestrogens, second hand smoke)

• Benign breast disease (fibrocystic breast changes, may or may not increase risk)

In my new book "HormoneSynergy, Optimal Aging and Hormone Balance" I address all these risk factors as well as discuss ways to reduce your risk.  You will also learn the latest research regarding hormones and breast cancer, and how new studies are showing women who recieve testosterone pellets have been shown to have no increased risk of breast cancer even though they were taking estrogen and synthetic progestins. 

You can call our clinic to order a copy of my new book or purchase a copy from our online store.

In Heatlh

Dr. Kathryn Retzler

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