This is a followup to my posting only the latest health news and research findings in the press on the causes of breast cancer. The latest information on breast cancer research stated that both pollution in the environment and the use of synthetic hormones in hormone replacement therapy are the causes of breast cancer. It has not been proven that natural bioidentical hormone therapy causes breast cancer. I stated that it has always been suspected that pollution in the environment causes not only breast cancer but other types of cancer and birth defects. But now, the idea of pollution as a cause of breast cancer has now gone mainstream. It would appear that both synthetic hormone replacement therapy, environmental pollution and diet are directly related to breast cancer.
The following article discusses the link between breast cancer and pollution in the environment comes from the womensenews.org website.
Breast Cancer Link to Environment Goes Mainstream
A mammogram image of the breast
“When she looks at her suburban street, Geri Barish sees cancer. She believes it’s under her feet, in the soil that came from landfill and has been sprayed with pesticides. She believes it’s overhead, in the electric transformers that hang from telephone poles on her quiet cul-de-sac.
“Pollution from these sources may explain the cancer that killed my mother, my son and too many of my neighbors,” said Barish, of Hewlett, N.Y., a middle-income community at the heart of a dense cluster of cancer cases. “It may also explain why I’ve had to battle breast cancer three separate times myself.”
Back in 1990, when Barish and some female neighbors founded the Long Island Breast Cancer Action Coalition, their goal–to raise awareness of the link between pollutants and high rates of cancer in their area–was considered politically fringe.
Twenty years down the line, presidential advisors, lawmakers and the largest breast cancer research group in the country are all simultaneously pulling the issue to the center of the political stage.
A big sign of this change will occur July 6-8, when Susan G. Komen for the Cure–the world’s largest breast cancer organization–and the Institute of Medicine, a Washington-based health policy group, conduct a joint meeting in San Francisco on environmental toxins and breast cancer.
“The public is invited to observe our upcoming meeting, which will include presentations from leading breast cancer researchers and organizations,” said Dr. Amelie Ramirez of Komen’s scientific advisory board. “We believe this meeting is very important and expect it to generate much collaborative input.”
In the advocacy realm, this represents something of a seismic shift by the Dallas-based Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which has long focused on breast cancer treatment, rather than prevention.
But on May 20, the group, which has invested nearly $1.5 billion to fight breast cancer since its inception in 1982, said it was devoting $1.25 million to a year-long Institute of Medicine study on cancer and the environment.”
Recently the latest health news and research findings in the press have revealed articles on the causes of breast cancer. The latest news in breast cancer research states that both pollution in the environment and the use of synthetic hormones in hormone replacement therapy are the causes of breast cancer. Really, this isn’t news at all because in 2002, the Womens Health Initiative found that synthetic hormone use increased the risk of deadly breast cancer among other health risks, and it has always been suspected that pollution in the environment causes not only breast cancer but other types of cancer and birth defects.
The following article, speaks to the issue of the use of synthetic hormones in hormone replacement therapy are for my readers concerned about breast cancer news and research. This article on Hormone Replacement Therapy as a cause of breast cancer comes from the NYDailyNews.com.
Hormone replacement therapy caused more advanced, deadlier breast cancer: AMA
Women who took hormone replacement pills had more advanced breast cancers and were more likely to die from them than women who took a dummy pill, raising new concerns about the commonly prescribed drugs, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, is the first to report more breast cancer deaths among women taking hormone replacement therapy. And it contradicts prior studies that suggest women taking the drugs had less aggressive, easier-to-treat breast cancers.
HRT as a cause of breast cancer
“As opposed to the prevailing thought of two years ago, that cancers associated with estrogen plus progesterone would be favorable and not much of a problem, we are actually showing they are associated with an increased risk of death from breast cancer,” Dr. Rowan Chlebowski of the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, who led the study, said in a telephone interview.
The findings include 11 years of follow-up from the Women’s Health Initiative study, which in 2002 found women who took estrogen plus progestins (synthetic progesterone) for five years had higher rates of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, strokes and other health problems.
Sales of U.S. market leader Wyeth’s combined estrogen plus progesterone pill Prempro have fallen by about 50 percent since 2001 to around $1 billion a year. Wyeth is now owned by Pfizer.
Chlebowski’s team analyzed data on the more than 12,000 women in the study. They found twice as many taking HRT died from breast cancer — 2.6 per 10,000 per year versus 1.3 per 10,000 women per year — compared to women who took a placebo.
Nearly 24 percent of the breast cancer patients who took HRT had tumors that had spread to the lymph notes, compared with 16 percent of women taking placebos.
“All the scary cancers with unfavorable prognoses were also increased,” Chlebowski said, citing increases in aggressive forms of breast cancer, and not just estrogen-fed cancers that are easier to treat.
“And then for the first time we show deaths from breast cancer are significantly increased as well,” he said.
Pfizer said in a statement the company stands behind Prempro’s current labeling, which advises doctors to prescribe the drug at the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible period of time.
But even that may be risky, suggests Dr. Peter Bach of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, who wrote a commentary in the same journal.
Doctors can only be guessing that taking the pills at a lower dose and for a shorter time would be less harmful, Bach said in a telephone interview.
Doctors “should be aware that this approach has not been proven in rigorous clinical trials,” Bach wrote.
“As a science-based company, we take this analysis seriously,” Pfizer said in a statement.
“It is important to view the data in the full context of both the symptoms of menopause as well as the extensive body of information — developed over more than 60 years — on the known benefits and risks of hormone therapy.”
Doctors note that the average age of the women in the Women’s Health Initiative study was 63, several years past menopause, and say the findings may not apply to women taking other forms of HRT (such as bioidentical hormones), or to those starting HRT immediately at the time of menopause.
Weight loss medication in the most recent health news is something known as Orlistat. There are not many prescription based weight loss pills on the market but Orlistat, also known as Xenical is one of the latest. Orlistat has been around for at least a decade and is claimed to promote weight loss by preventing digestion and absorption of fat in the intestine.
All fat when ingested is broken down by an enzyme released from the pancreas. The pancreas releases the enzyme lipase which breaks up the fat which can then be absorbed from the intestine into the body. Orlistat acts by blocking the lipase enzyme so that the fats are not broken down and hence not absorbed. The blockage on the lipase enzyme is not 100% but average about 50%-75%. The unabsorbed fat is then excreted into the stools.
Orlistat has been approved by the FDA for use in North America. There is also a lower dose of the drug available over the counter. The generic brand name sold over the counter is known as Alli and requires no prescription.
For weight loss, Orlistat has to be taken on a daily basis for 2-3 months. However, the pill itself does not always work in all individuals. Physicians recommend that Orlistat must be combined with exercise and a reduced intake of calories for the medication to have the most benefits. If the patient is suffering from weight gain as a result of hormone imbalance, the patient must first stabilize hormone levels and follow a hormone diet which achieve weightloss. The drug is often prescribed for individuals who are moderately obese (BMI > 25 kg/m2).
Studies indicate that the average weight loss with Orlistat after six months averages about 12-15 pounds.
The prescription pill (120mg) is taken three times a day, one hour before each meal.
Because Orlistat inhibits fat absorption, patients taking fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) should not take Orlistat at the same time.
While Orlistat is generally a safe drug it does have a few unpleasant side effects. The most common side effect includes soiling of the underwear. The soiling is from the unabsorbed fat which can occur at any time. Passage of excess gas, loose and oily stools is also common. Some individuals also develop abdominal cramps and bloating. The inability to control bowel movements is also a common complaint. These side effects do not occur in all individuals but when they do occur, they are disturbing. The side effects generally start a few weeks after starting treatment and in a few patients may resolve. However, in the majority of individuals the symptoms will persist as long as the pill is taken. To decrease the side effects, it is recommended that one eat a low fat diet and decrease the dose of Orlistat.
A rare side effect of the drug is the development of kidney stones.
Orlistat is not an inexpensive product. The average cost for 30 pills is about $60-$90. And remember one takes 3 pills a day and so it is an expensive undertaking with no guarantee of any benefit plus a definite chance of developing some type of side effect.
Speak with your physician if you feel you would like to try this medication before you embark on your weight loss program.