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NashVegas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 06:53 AM
Original message
Breast cancer drop linked to HRT
Edited on Fri Dec-15-06 06:54 AM by Crisco
A drop in breast cancer cases may be due to women eschewing Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), experts say.

University of Texas researchers recorded a 7% drop in new breast cancer cases in the US in 2003.

The told a US cancer conference the fall could be linked to the fact that millions of women gave up HRT following reports questioning its safety.

They recorded an even bigger fall - 12% - in cases of hormone-dependent breast cancer among women aged 50-69.



http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6182445.stm


NYT story:

In July 2002, the Womens Health Initiative, a large clinical trial looking at the use of one menopause drug, Prempro, made by Wyeth, found that women taking the drug had slightly higher breast cancer rates. The studys findings were a shock to many women and their doctors. Until then, many had assumed that Prempro simply replaced the lost hormones of youth. Within six months, the drugs sales had fallen by 50 percent.

Scientists knew that hormones could fuel the growth of estrogen-positive tumors, which carry receptors for estrogen on their cell surfaces. The hypothesis is that when women stopped taking menopausal hormones, tiny cancers already in their breasts were deprived of estrogen and stopped growing, never reaching a stage where they could have been seen on mammograms.


http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/15/health/15breast.html

And this is the space where I point out that I first heard about the link between HRT and breast cancer in my then-Alternative weekly, Albany NY's Metroland, and John Robbin's Diet for a New America. Over 15 years ago, when the commercial scientific establishment was scoffing at the notion.

Between at least 1990 and 2002, women who questioned the negative effects of HRT were told to ignore them in exchange for eternal youth.

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zanne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 07:10 AM
Response to Original message
1. Now if they could just find a replacement for HRT
I can't get HRT because of heart disease. I've suffered from serious, clinical depression off-and-on again all my life. Largely due to menopause, I've been in a depression for over a year. I get counseling, 70mg. of Paxil daily and 1.5 milligrams of Klonopin. I just don't see how that's any better than HRT, and it's bound to get worse. I started worrying about menopause and depression when I was in my 30's, but I always thought that, at least, I'd have HRT. Now I'm up the creek.
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brentspeak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 07:57 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. I hope things get better for you.
Prayers.
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madrchsod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:45 AM
Response to Reply #1
10. my wife smokes pot
a couple of hits a day keeps her various reactions under control. she tried everything that was out there and trust me, pot is the only thing that has worked....
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Whoa_Nelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 12:04 PM
Response to Reply #10
17. Well, then...time for me to get Medical Marijuana!
Edited on Fri Dec-15-06 12:05 PM by Whoa_Nelly
Am in CA, so should be able to get it...somewhere... hmmmmmm....

Have been on HRT since 1991 due to total hysterectomy. First Premarin for a few months...hated that. Then tried several others until started taking Estrodiol in 1998. Now take 1 mg. of it daily for three weeks with one week off. It helps me to be on a body cycle like that. If I don't take it for several weeks, as I have done in the past, I get very tired easily, and basically have no energy.

However, have to say, smoking pot does make me feel good, and gets me creative and on the upswing. Your wife may be onto something here!
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noonwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 03:01 PM
Response to Reply #1
22. Are there any natural vitamins or supplements that might help?
I'm not menapousal (yet-it's coming in the next few years), but I take hair, skin and nails vitamins from the health food store to help keep my hair looking good. They have lots of products that claim to help with menapousal symptoms. Some of my african-american coworkers claim that something called black cohosh (sp?) helps tremendously with hot flashes.

I don't plan on taking HRT-I'm hoping that I don't have really bad symptoms. My mom went crazy during menapouse and has still not recovered, but I think she actually was crazy before that, I just didn't realize it as a teenager. My grandmother went through it when I was a little girl (without HRT) and I remember her complaining about it, but I don't think she had a really bad time of it.

One of my mom's friends, who used HRT, ended up with breast cancer-she caught it early and was successfully treated, but still, I don't want to take that risk. I don't think my mom used any kind of assistance, even though her doctor tried to get her to take some tranquilizers because she was so erratic. She won't take anything like that, she won't even drink more than half a glass of wine.
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Radio_Lady Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:24 PM
Response to Reply #22
29. I did get some hot flashes, but then I think they might have been panic
attacks caused by ingestion of too much caffeine. I was in a rather tense job and drove about 3,000 miles a month. The attacks came while I was driving and while the windshield wipers were going. Something related to my vision and the flood of adrenaline occasionally.

For me, anxiety attacks usually start with some unpleasant thought that just grows and grows. I have learned to I stop thinking about whatever it is (in a process actually called "THOUGHT STOPPING" in which you have a rubber band around your wrist and you snap it somewhat painfully on your skin and demand your brain stop that). Also, I stop what I am doing if I can, move into a soft chair or lie down, drop my head between my knees, slow my breathing, think of a pleasant place or a place I've been that I like very much. Soft music helps, as does any of the relaxation CDs or MP3s of sounds of the sea. It's a great way to generally relax.

I also take a very small amount of Xanax, a godsend drug if there ever was one. Just .025, the smallest dose, does it for me.

I was in my 50s when my periods began to be really irregular. I did take HRT for about seven years, ending in 1998. I was told I would suffer if I didn't taper off. I quit it cold turkey and never had another problem. I am now 67. There are problems with vaginal dryness, but some of the vaginal lubricants help that somewhat.

After the Women's Health Study was abruptly stopped, I decided I'd have one last fling with youth earlier this year. The doctor prescribed Premarin vaginal cream and an estrogen/testosterone pills along with progesterone pills. It didn't do much except make me more and more worried about what I was doing. My husband insisted that I stop all of it.

I'll never be 20 or 40 again, but I'm really glad I decided to quit HRT. My mother had breast cancer, but she died of other problems at 71. A doctor did a BRCA test on me at one point, but it was negative. My grandmother had pancreatic cancer. So it's in my family -- I do have yearly mammograms and they have always been negative.

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Miss Chybil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 04:49 PM
Response to Reply #1
24. How do you sleep?
Insomnia caused by menopause could be a huge, if not the main, culprit in your depression. If you're not sleeping well, tell your doctor.
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Patchuli Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 11:03 PM
Response to Reply #24
31. I've noticed that insomnia thing,
along with the slower metabolism. I just read that a woman in her 50s has to run between 15-20 miles a week just to stay status quo on weight! So NOT fair! I've been resisting HRT since an early partial hysterectomy due to fibroids. I have one ovary so I still pump my own hormones, at least for now. I found that the black cohosh does help with the night sweat thing.

It's so fun to be a woman!
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peacebird Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 07:24 AM
Response to Original message
2. great - i finally started hrt a month ago ... argh.
I've had hot flashes for about 6 years but for the last two years I have had "volcanic sweats" - where they hit so hard that instead of a flush or dampness I would get perspiration running in little streams down my body.
I can deal with that in the warm months but in winter my clothes get soaked and i get cold. These sweats were hitting up to 6 times an HOUR around the clock. I started hrt and within a week they were totally gone - first time in over 6 years I have no flashes, flushes or sweats.

sigh. I guess I will go off the hrt once the weather warms up again.....

sigh.

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yellerpup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:04 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. That sounds familiar.
Edited on Fri Dec-15-06 08:05 AM by yellerpup
It took me eight years altogether to get through menopause, the sixth & seventh years were the worst--mainly because of the sweating, depression, and inability to sleep, and now it's all over. I did not take HRT but found that hard, regular exercise (with weights) helped more than anything. I reminded myself daily that women had made it through menopause without HRT for centuries before it was invented, and that I did not have to lash out or behave like an a** when I felt like ripping someone's head off. I tried the weakest Premarin therapy toward the end when the symptons were at their worse, but found that the HRT only brought back the hot flashes that I had mostly gotten over by then. I wish I could say I was shocked at such a huge, wide spread drug test on women who had assumed this therapy had been tested BEFORE it was prescribed by their physicians. Be glad the truth is out.
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Locrian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:46 AM
Response to Reply #2
14. before you go off....
search on medline for the Womens Health Initiative study. It's well known that it only used SYNTHETIC hormones.

And read It's My Ovaries, Stupid! by Elizabeth Lee Vliet, http://www.amazon.com/Its-Ovaries-Stupid-Elizabeth-Vlie...



and even Susan Sommers book (yeah, I know but there is some really good info in there).

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sendero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 06:26 PM
Response to Reply #14
27. Exactly..
... the patented sorta-hormones that are used in most therapy and ALL of those studies are not real human hormones and why anyone would expect them to behave like real human hormones is beyond me.

Back in the 40s, several synthetic testosterone-like substances were developed, many are still used, and EACH ONE HAS QUITE DIFFERENT EFFECTS.

Real estrogen works fine but:

1) drug companies cannot patent it so they are totally uninterested in messing with it at all and
2) it cannot be made into a pill because it will not pass through the digestive system unscathed

HRT works great, but you have to use REAL HORMONES from a compounding pharmacy and you have to rub on a cream every night for skin absorption of the hormones.
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Radio_Lady Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:47 PM
Response to Reply #2
30. I sweat all the time, winter and summer, in every place there are sweat glands.
Edited on Fri Dec-15-06 10:49 PM by Radio_Lady
For me, this is a sympathetic nervous system problem. It even has a medical name, hyperhidrosis. I've had it since I was a child. I hate hot weather and high humidity, and operate better under 65 degrees with low humidity.

I carry a small fan battery powered fan wherever I go in summer. I also have a fan with a sprayer attached (the grandkids love that). There are also "neck coolers" available with crystals that turn into a cool gel when you wet them. They come in colorful fabrics and work wonderfully.

I keep my pulse points (wrists, neck and ankles) wet with ice in a terry cloth towel. I try to swim and/or shower every day. Sometimes I shower before bedtime.

I've found that some of the menthol sprays are great. Arctic Spray is a lifesaver, but plain water in a spray bottle works fine. I keep my hair and scalp wet a good part of the year (shampoo but and don't dry it with a hair dryer) -- heat is released through the head.

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OzarkDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:02 AM
Response to Original message
4. We asked when HRT will be taken off the market
I'm at the conference. The researchers seem fairly confident that HRT accounts for most of the decrease. Most of this data came out earlier this year, but this study is finally hitting the news media.

Now keep in mind, not all breast cancers are affected by HRT - they're saying a lot of non-malignant tumors or atypical cells will never go beyond that until HRT is introduced. Obviously, other women will still get breast cancer even if they never used HRT.
Also, the type of cancer generated by HRT is less aggressive.

The biggest environmental factor that causes breast cancer is estrogen. So that means any type of estrogen - bioidentical, plant based, natural, etc. is the same, just as risky as HRT.

They'll feel more confident about the HRT link with a few more years of data from the Women's Health Initiative study.

But if you take HRT for menopausal symptoms, seriously consider stopping it. There are other ways to manage side effects of menopause. They're not ready to consider pulling it off the market either. Some women do still need it for medical reasons and they fear many women would switch to bioidenticals which would be just as bad.

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yellerpup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:10 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. You make a good point, OzarkDem
My SIL dosed herself for years with homeopathic estrogens, flax seed, soy milk & many different soy products that contain biological estrogen and is hospice now from breast cancer that metasticized to other internal organs and bone. Thanks for making the point that a "switch to bioidenticals would be just as bad."
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OzarkDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:18 AM
Response to Reply #6
9. Sorry to hear it
How sad that she's so sick.

As for advice on bioidenticals, I can't take credit, those were the exact words of Dr. Ravdin, who was one of the investigators.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 09:47 AM
Response to Reply #6
11. Just a nitpick...
"Homeopathic" does not mean "natural," as you are apparently using it in this case.

Homeopathy refers to the ultra-dilution of chemicals literally to the point where even a molecule of the substance is unlikely to still be in the solution. It's 100% pure quackery.
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BuddhaGirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:02 PM
Response to Reply #11
28. "It's 100% pure quackery."
Not in my experience. I've had good results with homeopathic products (other than menopause stuff - not there yet) as has my husband and countless friends.

Arnica is the bomb! :D
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Raine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 02:23 AM
Response to Reply #28
33. I agree
it is NOT "pure quackery". I had anxiety attacks so bad a few years ago that I couldn't sleep and could barely function. I hate prescriptions but they were so bad I was going to take some but as a last ditch effort first tried St John's Wort. Within two weeks the anxiety attacks had all but disappeared, I'm doing fine now.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 04:22 PM
Response to Reply #33
37. Totally missed what I said, didn't you?
St. John's Wort is not homeopathic medicine.
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Raine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 05:46 PM
Response to Reply #37
40. Yes you're right
SJW is an herb, that's what I get for shooting off my "mouth" in hurry without thinking first. :blush: :spank: Sorry.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 04:24 PM
Response to Reply #28
38. You also missed what I said.
"Arnica" is not homeopathic either. Homeopathic refers specifically to the dilution of substances, usually beyond the point where even a molecule of that substance remains. That's supposed to increase the "strength" of the medicine - which of course goes completely against everything we know about chemistry, physics, biology, pretty much every branch of science there is.
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NashVegas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:12 AM
Response to Reply #4
7. Thanks for Posting
I'm of an age where menopause will probably become a factor within the next ten years.

My aunt took HRT in the late '80s through the '90s, my mother didn't. My aunt's had breast cancer (though I've no idea if that was hormone-related), my mother hasn't. My aunt is also a lot more "spry," than my mom, who's led a sedentary life since retirement. I'm not sure what I'm going to do when the choice is in front of me, but I'm not going get angsty about it until I get there.
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OzarkDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 08:14 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. No need to worry now
There may be something new in 10 years. Let's hope.

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Locrian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:36 AM
Response to Reply #4
13. bioidentical is NOT as risky as synthetic
>>The biggest environmental factor that causes breast cancer is estrogen. So that means any type of estrogen - bioidentical, plant based, natural, etc. is the same, just as risky as HRT.<<<


ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE! The studies in the past were done with synthetic that caused any link. The risks are NOT the same with bio-identical HRT.


>> They'll feel more confident about the HRT link with a few more years of data from the Women's Health Initiative study.

The past Women's Health Initiativewas a FLAWED study with synthetic HRT. Please do not confuse the two.

http://www.healthywomen.org/resources/womenshealthinthe...
http://www.newlifejournal.com/junjul04/walch_0704.shtml


The estrogen / progesterone studied was studied since it is PATENTABLE. The bioidentical (cheap) is painted with the same brush but european and older studies do NOT show the same risk.
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OzarkDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 12:27 PM
Response to Reply #13
18. Sorry, but the research doesn't back that up
estrogen is estrogen, regardless of where it comes from, plants or the pharmacy.

The WHI is one of the best designed women's health studies in history. Its nearly impossible to make any kind of case against its results and the drastic drop in breast cancer incidence after publication of the study and subsequent halting of HRT bears it out.

Pardon me, but I'll take the researcher's word for it - bioidenticals are the same as synthetic estrogen when it comes to their effect on mammary cells.
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doodadem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 09:52 AM
Response to Original message
12. Good news for mares.........
Bad news for women, but good news for mares. Most women are not aware that products such as Premarin are produced from female horse urine. Pharmaceutical companies financed large Premarin collection farms, mostly in Canada. The mares spent their lives much like veal--confined to where they could not move, and their urine collected. They were kept continually pregnant, and when the foals were born, they were shipped off to the meat markets. A horrible, inhumane existance.

So then when the cancer link came out a few years ago, the farms started closing down. Alot of the mares and foals again went to the meat market, but many were adopted by caring people. I have several friends who have adopted one or two. Most of them are draft horse crosses (produce more urine because of size), and need some socialization. But alot of them are also like big puppy dogs with great temperments, starved for attention.
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Locrian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:52 AM
Response to Reply #12
15. Research finds no HRT cancer link
Edited on Fri Dec-15-06 10:54 AM by Locrian
Then there is this study too:

Research finds no HRT cancer link
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4900236.stm


The typical approach is to develop a synthetic approach so that it can be patented (ie the horse urine Premerin) because there is no $$ in natural bio-ident. Then the "studies" funded by money since the potential is there for $$ is done on the "new" drug. Bad news comes in when the "tweaked" doesnt work out and the entire range of HRT (ala the Womens Health Study) gets painted with the same broad brush.

So yeah, there may have been a drop (debate-able given the link above) but probably because they stopped using SYNTHETIC HRT.

BTW - does anyone stop and think what the BIGGEST massive dosages of estrogens and progesterons (synthetic) are being administered every day by millions of young women? IE birth control pills?!! Of course there is big $$ so there are no alarms being sounded....

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NashVegas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 11:24 AM
Response to Reply #15
16. Estrogen / Progesterone Combos
Edited on Fri Dec-15-06 11:28 AM by Crisco
As opposed to estrogen only.

And yes, I've thought very much about hormone-treatment BC.

Basically, IMO, anytime you go messing with hormones unnecessarily, you're asking for trouble. They are what move the gears of the body clock, science still doesn't entirely understand what it's working with, but there are strategists out there who have no conscience about using whatever they can to make a buck.
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enki23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 12:43 PM
Response to Reply #15
19. premarin isn't "synthetic"
.
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Bridget Burke Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 01:05 PM
Response to Reply #15
21. From your link:
Edited on Fri Dec-15-06 01:05 PM by Bridget Burke
Professor John Toy, medical director of Cancer Research UK, said the report strengthened the already well established message that HRT was a medicine which should be taken only after women and their doctors have carefully considered its potential medical benefits and risks.

He added: "Although this particular study shows no increase in breast cancers from oestrogen-only HRT - in contrast to other large studies which do show an increase - there are still considerable side-effects associated with it.

"There was a 50% increase in abnormal mammograms and a 33% increase in the number of breast biopsies required.

"These are both very worrying experiences for women to endure. And when breast cancers did occur they tended to be larger tumours spreading to lymph nodes."


As someone already said Estrogen is Estrogen (or maybe "Oestrogen"). Natural medicines can be beneficial, but they can also be harmful.


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catchnrelease Donating Member (359 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 11:21 PM
Response to Reply #12
32. Wish more people were aware of this
My daughter has adopted two "Premarin" fillies. They were kind of rough when she got them as yearlings, but now at 2 they are both sweet and her kids--all under 8 yrs--can work with and around them. They are actually on the small side, so will be good for the kids. I think they are mainly Quarter Horse bloodlines, no draft. I hope this industry will disappear for good.
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Raine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 02:26 AM
Response to Reply #12
34. What they do to those mares
is disgusting, I'm so glad that some of them have ended up in loving homes.
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Ilsa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 12:45 PM
Response to Original message
20. And with this news, the anti-choice crowd will continue to try to
correlate BRCA with abortion. Even though correlation is not the same as causation and they are two different subjects.
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Ayesha Donating Member (587 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 04:31 PM
Response to Original message
23. My mother got breast cancer because of HRT
Her mother had died from breast cancer after going on HRT, but my mom did it anyway because the doctors convinced her that the new improved hormones were safer than what her mother had taken. Needless to say, I don't care what they tell me, I will NEVER do HRT. I'm sure menopause sucks, but after seeing my mom go through cancer and eventually die, and working as a therapist with cancer patients for the past year, I am certain that chemotherapy, metastases, pain, and DYING suck way more.
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llmart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 05:35 PM
Response to Reply #23
25. Good for you.....
I didn't take anything and yes, it sucks, but so do lots of things in life. Aging involves many things to deal with that aren't pleasant, but there isn't a pill for everything, so better to be realistic about it before you get there. What did women do before the big pharmaceuticals came along? They coped.
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E.R. Strooley Donating Member (16 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 05:52 PM
Response to Original message
26. Isn't that always the way?
"Between at least 1990 and 2002, women who questioned the negative effects of HRT were told to ignore them in exchange for eternal youth."

Essentially saying - Don't worry ladies, your health isn't as important as your youth.

Such a terrible message to send.
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Raine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 02:32 AM
Response to Reply #26
35. How True
and by the way WELCOME to DU. :hi:
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NotGivingUp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 08:00 AM
Response to Original message
36. misleading headline...anybody not reading further would think HRT is a good thing
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lynne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 04:41 PM
Response to Original message
39. I refused HRT 14 years ago and finally left the Doctor -
- because he kept on trying to push it on me. I'm glad I refused!!

There are some things that a body just must endure. Teething, puberty and menopause all fall into that category. We all must go through it (women only on the menopause, of course) and we need to just suck it up and deal with it. Our mothers and grandmothers survived as did all the women before them.

If I made it without meds, hormones or any other assistance - everyone else can, too.
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