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What Causes Hormonal Breast Cancer

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Birth Control And Endometrial Cancer

Do I Need Hormonal Therapy to Treat Breast Cancer?

Use of some forms of hormonal birth control the risk of endometrial cancer.

Current users of estrogen-containing pills have half as much risk as those who never used hormonal methods . Former-users of the pill also have a reduced risk after discontinuation .

There has been less research on progestin-only birth control, but some studies have found reduced risks too. One study from 2014 found that people with heavy menstrual bleeding who used the hormonal IUD had half the risk of developing endometrial cancer . Users of the progestin-only shot have been found to be at reduced risk , and progestin-only pills might also reduce risk , though more research is needed.

Theoretically, users of progestin-only methods should be at a reduced risk, because it is thought that the synthetic progestins prevent the development of endometrial cancer .

The hormonal IUD and an oral form of the progestin found in the contraceptive shot have actually been used to treat some forms of endometrial cancer and endometrial hyperplasia, or abnormal cell growth .

If Youre Overweight Aim For Controlled Weight Loss

With two-thirds of the American population classified as overweight or obese, many newly diagnosed cancer patients who fall into those categories consider the prospect of treatment-related weight loss to be a silver lining. But its not your ticket to become the Biggest Loser, Ms. Stella and Ms. Gerdes say.

We want to make sure theyre not losing in an uncontrolled manner, Ms. Gerdes says, noting that rapid weight loss usually involves the loss of lean muscle mass, which is needed to maintain strength. Losing five to six pounds a week would be concerning.

The Importance Of Healthy Hormones

A healthy hormone balance is essential to good health. Having too much or too little of any hormone wreaks havoc on your body.

Keep in mind, there are phases of a persons life when their hormones do tend to spike or drop. Puberty and pregnancy are great examples. Hormones change during this time to prepare the body for the major changes to come. In puberty, hormones spike as sexual development occurs. Hormones change during pregnancy to accommodate and support the growth of the baby.

Hormones also change as we age. Its normal for certain hormones to drop as you age, but this doesnt mean it feels good. If youre experiencing hormone changes with age, speak to your doctor about how you can bring things back into balance to help you feel better.

If you arent over 50, nor are you going through any life-change phases, hormone imbalances could be an indication of a health problem. Its important to speak to your doctor if you suspect problems with your hormones.

Symptoms of hormonal imbalance include:

  • Erectile dysfunction

This is not a comprehensive list.

Its important to work with your medical team if you feel less-than-your-best. Sometimes the problem is a mix of hormonal imbalance and other causes or its a cycle and one thing is affecting another.

The important thing to remember is to not ignore how your body feels because in many cases, the fix is simple. And in other cases, hormonal issues put you at risk of developing serious diseases.

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What Hormones Are Used To Treat Breast Cancer

Hormone Therapy for Breast Cancer. Some types of breast cancer are affected by hormones, like estrogen and progesterone. The breast cancer cells have receptors that attach to estrogen and progesterone, which helps them grow. Treatments that stop these hormones from attaching to these receptors are called hormone or endocrine therapy.

Hormones And Breast Cancer Development

Why is the Progesterone/Oestrogen Ratio So Important?

Cancer is generally believed to arise when dividing cells undergo mutations and these genetically damaged cells become susceptible to unrestrained division. Thus, female hormones and other hormones that affect growth of the mammary gland are potential risk factors for breast cancer. In contrast, factors that induce differentiation in the mammary gland, such as pregnancy and lactation, are likely to reduce the risk of breast cancer. The baseline risk is influenced, however, by higher mammary gland mass and several observations provide indirect evidence of the association between mammary gland mass and breast cancer risk : first pregnancy induces terminal differentiation of the breast epithelium and reduces breast cancer risk dense mammographic patterns reflecting the dominance of epithelial tissue over fatty tissue are associated with higher risk of breast cancer adult height and the attendant higher mammary gland mass is a significant risk factor women have more mammary gland mass than men and they experience a 100-fold higher breast cancer risk Caucasian women have more mammary gland mass than oriental women, who have a lower breast cancer risk the left breast is slightly larger on average than the right breast, and more likely to sustain breast cancer.

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No History Of Breastfeeding

If you breastfed, your risk of developing breast cancer may be reduced, especially if you did it for a year or longer. Breast cancer reduction is just one of many benefits associated with breastfeeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for about the first six months of life, then continuing to breastfeed, supplementing with appropriate foods, for one year or longer.

What to do: Consider breastfeeding, if possible, as it also protects your baby from many diseases.

How To Treat Hormone Sensitive Breast Cancer

Several strategies are used to treat hormone-sensitive breast cancer: Blocking ovarian function: Because the ovaries are the main source of estrogen in premenopausal women, estrogen levels in these women can be reduced by eliminating or suppressing ovarian function. Blocking ovarian function is called ovarian ablation.

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What Receptors Interact With Estrogen

Hormone receptors can interact with estrogen or progesterone. Estrogen receptors are the most common. This is why ER-positive is the most common form of breast cancer. Some people are diagnosed with progesterone receptor-positive breast cancer. The key difference is whether cancerous cells are getting growth signals from estrogen

Breast Cancer: Risk Factors And Prevention

Hormonal Therapy for Breast Cancer: We Teach You

Have questions about breast cancer? Ask here.

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about the factors that increase the chance of developing breast cancer. Use the menu to see other pages.

A risk factor is anything that increases a persons chance of developing cancer. Although risk factors often influence the development of cancer, most do not directly cause cancer. Some people with several risk factors never develop cancer, while others with no known risk factors do. Knowing your risk factors and talking about them with your doctor may help you make more informed lifestyle and health care choices.

Most breast cancers are sporadic, meaning they develop from damage to a persons genes that occurs by chance after they are born. There is no risk of the person passing this gene on to their children, as the underlying cause of sporadic breast cancer is a combination of internal, or hormonal, exposures lifestyle factors environmental factors and normal physiology, such as DNA replication.

Inherited breast cancers are less common, making up 5% to 10% of cancers. Inherited breast cancer occurs when gene changes, called mutations or alterations, are passed down within a family from parent to child. Many of those mutations are in tumor suppressor genes, such as BRCA1, BRCA2, and PALB2. These genes normally keep cells from growing out of control and turning into cancer. But when these cells have a mutation, it can cause them to grow out of control.

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Surgery To Stop The Ovaries From Working

This is also a type of ovarian ablation. You might choose to have an operation to remove your ovaries instead of having drug treatment to stop them working. You have this operation as keyhole surgery. It is called laparoscopic oophorectomy and you have it under general anaesthetic . You usually stay in hospital overnight.

The surgeon makes a number of small cuts into your tummy . They put a long bendy tube called a laparoscope into one of the cuts. The laparoscope connects to a video screen.

The surgeon puts small instruments through the other cuts to carry out the operation and remove the ovaries. They close the cuts with stitches and cover them with small dressings.

Removing your ovaries causes you to have a sudden menopause. The symptoms include hot flushes, sweating and mood swings.

Does Estrogen Cause Cancer

Estrogen plays a role in causing certain cancers.

Cells in your body have hormone receptors. The hormone receptors are a type of protein. Estrogen in your bloodstream can attach to the receptors. This hormone-receptor process is part of typical body function. In healthy cells, estrogen aids normal cell function and growth.

Today, experts know that several different factors play a role in turning healthy cells cancerous. When these factors are present, estrogen can act as a spark. The hormone causes cancer cells to multiply and spread.

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How Can Hormones Affect The Growth Of Breast Cancer

Hormones like estrogen and progesterone are chemicals produced by glands in the body. Normally, these hormones help regulate body cycles, like menstruation. However, sometimes these same hormones can cause cancer to grow.

The pathologist will perform tests on the breast cancer cells to determine if they have receptors that feed on estrogen or progesterone, stimulating their growth. If the cancer cells have these receptors, your doctor may recommend hormone therapy drugs, such as blockers or inhibitors. Both types of drugs help to destroy cancer cells by cutting off their supply of hormones.

Hormone Therapy Has A Bigger Impact Than Chemotherapy On Womens Quality Of Life

Is Your Hormonal Birth Control Protecting You or Causing Cancer?

Cellules cancéreuses. Expression de la protéine PML en rouge et du gène ZNF703 en vert dans des cellules de la lignée de cancer du sein MCF7. ©Inserm/Ginestier, Christophe

Analysis of the CANTO cohort published in the journal Annals of Oncology will upset received wisdom on the effects that hormone therapy and chemotherapy have on the quality of life in women with breast cancer. Contrary to the commonly held view, 2 years after diagnosis, hormone therapy, a highly effective breast cancer treatment worsens quality of life to a greater extent and for a longer time, especially in menopausal patients. The deleterious effects of chemotherapy are more transient. Given that current international guidelines recommend the prescription of hormone therapy for 5 to 10 years, it is important to offer treatment to women who develop severe symptoms due to hormone antagonist medication and to identify those who might benefit from less prolonged or intensive treatment strategies.

This work was directed by Dr Inès Vaz-Luis, specialist breast cancer oncologist and researcher at Gustave Roussy in the lab Predictive Biomarkers and Novel Therapeutic Strategies in Oncology .

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Breast Cancer & Weight Gain: What You Need To Know

Nearly 80% of people who are diagnosed with breast cancer will experience weight gain,1 reported to range between two pounds and 18 pounds. Not only is this an alarming trend for general health and self-image, but also some evidence suggests that pre-menopausal women who gain weight have a 1.5 fold increase risk of cancer recurrence.2 Other studies have shown that some types of treatment, such as anastrozole , are less effective at treating breast cancer in patients who are obese.3

Stephanie Graff, MD, Director of the Breast Cancer Program at Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at HCA Midwest Health and Associate Director of the Breast Cancer Research Program at Sarah Cannon Research Institute shares what people should know about the risk factors for weight gain after a breast cancer diagnosis.

Simultaneously hitting menopause

Women who become post-menopausal within the year they are diagnosed with breast cancer are the most likely to gain weight. An average woman without breast cancer gains three pounds with menopause.4 The risk of weight gain with menopause is highest in women who were at a healthy weight when reaching menopause. There does not seem to be a significant weight gain in women who quit hormone replacement at the time of a breast cancer diagnosis.

Treatment effects

Emotional wellness & coping skills


  • Ligibel JA and Winer EP. Aromatase inhibition in obese women: How much is enough? J Clin Oncol 2012 Aug 20 30:2940.
  • How Gene Changes Can Lead To Breast Cancer

    Genes control how our cells function. They are made up of a chemical called DNA, which comes from both our parents. DNA affects more than just how we look it also can influence our risk for developing certain diseases, including some kinds of cancer.

    Normal cells have genes called proto-oncogenes, which help control when the cells grow, divide to make new cells, or stay alive. If a proto-oncogene is mutated in a certain way, it becomes an oncogene. Cells that have these mutated oncogenes can become cancer.

    Normal cells also have genes called tumor suppressor genes, which help control how often normal cells divide in two, repair DNA mistakes, or cause cells to die at the right time. If a cell has a mutated tumor suppressor gene, then the cell can turn into cancer.

    Cancers can be caused by gene changes that turn on oncogenes or turn off tumor suppressor genes. Changes in many different genes are usually needed to cause breast cancer.

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    Pten And Cowden Syndrome

    Cowden syndrome is a rare autosomal dominant predisposition to both benign and malignant neoplasms. Breast cancer develops in 20%30% of carrier women. Other tumors seen among patients with Cowden syndrome include adenomas and follicular cell carcinomas of the thyroid gland, polyps and adenocarcinomas of the gastrointestinal tract, and ovarian cysts and carcinoma . Cowden syndrome is caused by germline mutations in the PTEN gene . PTEN, a tumor suppressor gene on 10q23.3 , is a dual-specificity phosphatase .

    Breast Cancer Risk Before Menopause

    Hormonal Therapy for Breast Cancer | Effectiveness in Cancer- Dr. Nanda Rajneesh | Doctors’ Circle

    A pooled analysis of data from 7 studies found higher blood estrogen levels is linked to an increased risk of breast cancer in premenopausal women .

    Study selection criteria: Prospective nested case-control studies with at least 100 breast cancer cases, pooled analyses and meta-analyses.

    Table note: Relative risks above 1 indicate increased risk. Relative risks below 1 indicate decreased risk.

    This table shows breast cancer risk related to total estradiol levels.


    Study Population

    Risk of Breast Cancer in Women with Higher Estradiol Levels Compared to Women with Lower Estradiol LevelsRelative Risk

    New York University Womens Health Study

    Nurses Health Study II

    UK Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening

    Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study

    Study of Osteoporosis Fractures Research Group


    * Relative risk for estrogen receptor-positive and progesterone receptor-positive breast cancers was 2.8 . Relative risk for estrogen receptor-negative and progesterone receptor-negative breast cancers was 1.1 .

    Relative risk for ER-positive cancers. Relative risk for ER-negative breast cancers was 1.65 .

    Results are for estradiol blood levels measured in the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle. Results for estradiol levels measured in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle were not statistically significant.

    || Relative risk for women with higher levels of free estradiol compared to women with lower levels of free estradiol was 1.75 .

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    Should I Enroll In A Clinical Trial

    Clinical trials are definitely worth considering, according to the Susan G. Komen organization. They offer the chance to try and possibly benefit from new treatments. The best time to join a trial is before starting treatment or, if your provider is considering changing treatments, before you switch to a new treatment.

    What Do The Hormone Receptor Test Results Mean

    Test results will give you your hormone receptor status. It will say a tumor is hormone receptor-positive if at least 1% of the cells tested have estrogen and/or progesterone receptors. Otherwise, the test will say the tumor is hormone receptor-negative.

    Hormone receptor-positive breast cancer cells have either estrogen or progesterone receptors or both. These breast cancers can be treated with hormone therapy drugs that lower estrogen levels or block estrogen receptors. Hormone receptor-positive cancers tend to grow more slowly than those that are hormone receptor-negative. Women with hormone receptor-positive cancers tend to have a better outlook in the short-term, but these cancers can sometimes come back many years after treatment.

    Hormone receptor-negative breast cancers have no estrogen or progesterone receptors. Treatment with hormone therapy drugs is not helpful for these cancers. These cancers tend to grow faster than hormone receptor-positive cancers. If they come back after treatment, its often in the first few years. Hormone receptor-negative cancers are more common in women who have not yet gone through menopause.

    Triple-positive cancers are ER-positive, PR-positive, and HER2-positive. These cancers can be treated with hormone drugs as well as drugs that target HER2.

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    A Family History Of Breast Cancer

    Having someone in your family with breast cancer doesnt automatically mean your own risk is increased. For most people, having a relative with breast cancer does not increase their risk.

    However, a small number of women and men have an increased risk of developing breast cancer because they have a significant family history.

    What Types Of Hormone Therapy Are Used For Breast Cancer

    Breast Cancer: Important Things Every Woman Should Know

    Several strategies are used to treat hormone-sensitive breast cancer:

    Blocking ovarian function: Because the ovaries are the main source of estrogen in premenopausal women, estrogen levels in these women can be reduced by eliminating or suppressing ovarian function. Blocking ovarian function is called ovarian ablation.

    Ovarian ablation can be done surgically in an operation to remove the ovaries or by treatment with radiation. This type of ovarian ablation is usually permanent.

    Alternatively, ovarian function can be suppressed temporarily by treatment with drugs called gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists, which are also known as luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone agonists. By mimicking GnRH, these medicines interfere with signals that stimulate the ovaries to produce estrogen.

    Estrogen and progesterone production in premenopausal women. Drawing shows that in premenopausal women, estrogen and progesterone production by the ovaries is regulated by luteinizing hormone and luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone . The hypothalamus releases LHRH, which then causes the pituitary gland to make and secrete LH and follicle-stimulating hormone . LH and FSH cause the ovaries to make estrogen and progesterone, which act on the endometrium .

    Examples of ovarian suppression drugs that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are goserelin and leuprolide .

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