Breast Cancer and Hormones

Avoiding Breast Cancer While Balancing Hormones

Any woman hesitant about hormone replacement because of fear of breast cancer should read this book.

Joseph McWherter MD, an OB/Gyne doctor in Texas with a large natural hormone practice, wrote this book in response to the Women’s Health Initiative Study (WHI) published in JAMA in 2002. The WHI Study was halted early because of increased heart disease and breast cancer. As usual, the newspaper headlines were misleading and got the story wrong, failing to mention the important distinction between the unsafe synthetic hormones used in the WHI study, and the safe natural hormones used by Dr. McWherter and many others.

Chapter 2 discusses the causes of breast cancer, namely accumulated DNA damage related to junk food diets, stressful lifestyle, environmental toxins, radiation, hormonal imbalance, and genetic predispositions, etc.

Chapter 3, Estrogen Explained, goes over rather detailed and technical information about the three types of human estrogens (E1,E2,E3) and their metabolism. Also clarified are the differences between synthetic estrogen, natural estrogen, xeno-estrogen and phyto-estrogen.

Chapter 4 is devoted to explaining the WHI Women’s Health Initiative Study, and a discussion of the importance of testing estrogen metabolites, namely the 2/16 hydroxy-estrogen ratio. Increasing this 2/16 ratio by consuming broccoli, or with supplements such as I3C and DIM reduces breast cancer risk.

Separate chapters are devoted to exercise, diet, and detoxification, all very detailed and complete. Before studying medicine, Dr. McWherter was a mathematician, and he covers these topics with mathematical precision. The exercise chapter contains actual photos showing how to do each exercise. The diet chapter contains menus and a glycemic index chart. The detoxification chapter includes a questionnaire and 21 day Detox diet.

The real crux of the book, of course, is the hormone chapter in which McWherter discusses natural hormones called Bi-Est and Tri-Est topical preparations. McWherter found that blood testing under treatment usually shows an estradiol level in the 20-50 pg/ml range. On page 140, McWherter reveals startling information about the low incidence of breast cancer in his treatment group. There was only one case of breast cancer in 2,300 women over 5 years on his clinic program. This single case is compared to the 60 cases expected based on the WHI placebo arm data. Needless to say, this is an excellent result.

Chapter 10, Breast Care Nutrients, covers McWherter’s Nutritional supplement program to prevent breast cancer, and the first item mentioned is iodine supplementation. Mc Wherter is familiar with the work of Derry and Brownstein on Iodine as the key to breast cancer prevention, and he gives credit to their work. Other supplements such as I3C, DIM and Calcium-D-glucarate are also mentioned.

A final chapter is devoted to breast cancer surveillance and detection with self breast examination, mammography and thermography.

Missing from the book is a chapter discussing heart disease. Suffice it to say that the second arm of the WHI using premarin alone actually showed less heart disease in the premarin treated group, and a recent NEJM study showed less coronary calcification on CAT scan in the premarin treated group. These revelations indicate that estrogen is protective, not causative of heart disease.

In conclusion, McWherter’s book serves as an educational tool for his own clinic patients, and provides a glimpse into his program for every one else. I have found the book a valuable resource, and have adopted the breast cancer prevention protocol for my own clinical practice.

McWherter’s excellent book sets a very high standard for future authors of natural hormone replacement for women, and the book deserves a prominent place in every medical library. Also recommended is Natural Hormone Balance for Women by Uzzi Reiss MD, Iodine and Breast Cancer Prevention by Derry, and Iodine by Brownstein.

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