Hormone Balance Hotline - Volume 2, Number 1 (Print Friendly)
In This Issue
- Hormone Replacement Therapy Linked to Ongoing Cancer Risks
- News Organizations Make a Mess of the Latest WHI Findings
Welcome to the first 2008 issue of the Hormone Balance Hotline! Earlier this month, we received eye-opening research results from the Women’s Health Initiative, the same organization that confirmed the risks of conventional hormone replacement therapy (HRT) back in 2002. Our first article analyzes this new and disturbing information from the WHI. I guarantee that you will not want to miss it. Be sure as well to read our second article in which we describe how the press both managed…and sadly, mis-managed…the latest WHI study.
Our third article introduces you to a new web site we have launched and an exciting new product that we are offering from the site. If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, here’s a hint. For years, people have been asking me, “What product do you and Dr. Lee use to balance your progesterone levels?” We never answered this question while my husband was alive, but are doing so now. Read this article to learn more!
As we expand our efforts to help you achieve optimal health naturally, I am constantly impressed by the encouraging words and emotional support that so many of you have given to us. I cannot tell you how much our entire team appreciates that support. If my husband were here, I know that he would look each of you in the eye, shake your hand, and say “thank you.” From the bottom of our hearts, all of us at The John Lee M.D. Companies do the same.
Yours for good health,
Hormone Replacement Therapy Linked to Ongoing Cancer Risks
New Research Indicates That Women Face Dangers Long After Quitting HRT
According to a recently published study from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), women who quit taking combination estrogen-progestin pills face increased cancer risks long after they stop using the drugs. Moreover, the risks extend not only to breast cancer but also to other dangerous malignancies. The new study underlines the dangers of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and the value of seeking alternatives such as those proposed by Dr. Lee.
As many of our readers will remember, the WHI launched a study in the 1990s to determine the long-term effects of HRT on menopausal women. While roughly half of the 16,000-plus women in the study took a combination estrogen-progestin pill, the other half (the control group) took a placebo. In July 2002, however, the WHI halted the study because it was clear that the HRT group faced increased risks of heart attacks, strokes, and breast cancer.
Once the study was halted, the WHI continued to monitor the study participants through March 2005 to determine if their risk levels changed over time. The results from the follow-up effort are a combination of good and bad news. The good news is that once the HRT users stopped taking the drugs, their heart attack risks dropped to levels similar to those in the placebo group. The bad news is that the women that stopped HRT continued to face greater cancer risks than the placebo group. Moreover, these risks were not limited to breast cancer. The HRT group faced persistently higher risks for other malignancies, including lung tumors. Indeed, the group that had discontinued HRT faced a 24 percent greater risk of developing any form of cancer than the control group and a 27 percent greater risk of developing breast cancer.
What Dr. Lee Had to Say
The latest WHI study validates everything that Dr. Lee said about the connection between HRT and cancer. As he pointed out in his groundbreaking book, What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer, unopposed estrogen can break down the body’s natural defenses against tumor growth. While some researchers maintain that the progestins in estrogen-progestin combination pills protect the body against the cancer-promoting effects of estrogen, Dr. Lee disagreed. As he wrote way back in 1998:
“Progestins are not the same as progesterone and do not provide the vital intracellular message that stimulates tumor-suppressor genes that fight cancer...”
It now appears that besides failing to protect women against breast cancer, progestins may fail to protect them against other forms of cancer as well. Moreover, women who cease taking estrogen-progestin drugs may face increased risks of multiple forms of cancer for years to come.
In short, the WHI follow-up study builds a strong case for menopausal women to avoid HRT altogether. Unfortunately, many doctors still tell women that while HRT has medical risks, it is acceptable at low dosage levels for short periods. This advice may lead many women to think that they can avoid the risks of HRT if they just use it to get them through the first several years after the onset of menopause. The latest study clearly demonstrates that the risks of this approach outweigh the benefits.
What You Can Do
If you are a menopausal woman or on the verge of becoming one, there are alternatives to HRT. Here is how you can put those alternatives into practice.
- Read Dr. Lee’s bestselling book, What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause. This book contains a wealth of information about the role that hormones play in menopausal symptoms. It also offers clear steps that women can take to address those symptoms. These include using bioidentical hormones, such as natural progesterone, and making changes in diet and exercise.
- If you have concerns about HRT and breast cancer, you should also read Dr. Lee’s book What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer. This book presents definitive research that demonstrates the linkage between hormone imbalances and breast cancer.
- Go to our web site to take our free Hormone Balance Test. The test can help you relate your menopausal symptoms to any potential hormonal imbalances.
- Test your hormone levels — especially estradiol and progesterone — using our saliva tests. These can help you determine if you have unopposed estrogen that may encourage tumor growth.
- Ask your healthcare provider about using bioidentical hormones instead of HRT. Our web site includes information on how you can find a doctor who uses natural hormones.
Journal of the American Medical Association (Heiss et al, Vol. 299, 9:March 5 2008)
News Organizations Make a Mess of the Latest WHI Findings
By Confusing Progesterone with Progestins, the Washington Post and Other Media Outlets Mislead Readers…Once Again
When the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) released results from its follow-up study of women who quit hormone replacement therapy (see our previous article), not everyone got the message straight. Within days, several news organizations reported that the women in the WHI study were taking estrogens and progesterone (not progestins!). As a result, the media once again misled women into thinking that natural progesterone is used in HRT and promotes cancer.
While most members of the press reported the latest WHI findings properly, the longstanding confusion between progesterone and progestins found its way into some prominent papers. In the March 5 edition of the Washington Post, science writer Rob Stein opened his article on the WHI study with the following sentence. “Menopausal women who took estrogen and progesterone faced a small increased risk of cancer for more than two years after they stopped…” Since the Post syndicates its content to hundreds of local papers, this serious factual error landed on the doorsteps of millions of women. We hate to imagine how it could confuse them and lead their doctors to advise against the use of natural progesterone.
Sadly, the Times of London made the same mistake in its coverage of the new findings when Health Editor Nigel Hawkes stated that the “combination pill” used in HRT contains “oestrogen plus progesterone”. You can read this error on the Times Online web site. The same mistake is repeated on Healthcare Republic, another UK web site.
An Error We Must Correct!
We wish that these and other media outlets would decide on their own to correct their errors and run articles that present the facts about natural progesterone. However, wishing will not change the situation or undo the damage that has been done. We must take action to educate members of the press about natural progesterone so that these errors become a thing of the past.
In that spirit, we at The John Lee M.D. Companies have sent letters and placed calls with members of the Washington Post. We have also done the same thing with the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, a paper in our county that ran the Post article. To its credit, the Press Democrat issued a correction to the story and ran a letter that we wrote to the editor about the matter. Unfortunately the Post has refused to issue a correction to Mr. Stein’s article. Even if the Post changes its mind, its correction will not affect hundreds of local papers that reprinted the story.
As such, we need your help in correcting these serious errors. Here is what we would ask you to do:
- Write the Washington Post to express your concern about its mistake. Send your emails and letters to Rob Stein, the author of the original article, as well as to Deborah Howell, the Washington Post Ombudsman. Here is their contact information.
Mr. Rob Stein (Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ms. Deborah Howell (Email address: HowellDC@washpost.com)
The Washington Post
1150 15th St. NW
Washington, DC 20071
You can write Nigel Hawkes at the Times of London using the following contact information:
Nigel Hawkes (Email address: email@example.com)
1 Pennington Street
London E98 1XY
- Check to see if your local paper wrote or carried an article about the WHI study that confused progesterone with progestins. If it did, contact them to ask for a correction. Besides asking for a correction, write a letter to the editor and insist that your paper print it. Here is a letter that you can adapt to your local circumstances.
* * *
A serious error appears in your article [put the article title here] dated [put the date of the article here]. In reporting on women who participated in the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study, you stated that the women who took estrogen and progesterone faced an increased risk of cancer after they stopped the treatment.
The problem with this statement is that none of the women in the study took progesterone! They took estrogen with progestins, pharmaceutical drugs that mimic some of the effects of progesterone, but have side effects not associated with progesterone.Progestins are marketed under brand names such as Provera, Depo-Provera, and Cycrin.
While the WHI study linked progestins to increased incidences of cancer, no studies have demonstrated similar risks for progesterone. Unlike progestins, progesterone is identical at the molecular level to the hormone of the same name that is present in the human body. Thousands of healthcare providers are successfully using progesterone as a substitute for progestins with menopausal women. Research studies also indicate that natural progesterone could actually help reduce incidences of breast cancer.
You and your readers can learn more about progesterone by reading the research of Dr. John R. Lee M.D., a doctor who dedicated his life to studying this remarkable hormone. Dr. Lee’s web site is located at www.JohnLeeMD.com.
All of us at The John Lee M.D. Companies thank you in advance for helping to set the record straight in the media. While the misinformation about progesterone is deep-seated and widespread, we can dispel it if we work together. As Dr. Lee once wrote, “There is no teaching force for doctors more formidable or effective than knowledgeable, intelligent, assertive women.” That teaching force can have the same effect on the media.
The products on JohnLeeMD.com are not offered for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of any disease or disorder nor have any statements herein been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). We strongly encourage our customers to discuss topics of concern with their health care professionals.