February 3, 2023
By Kristi Bernardo, MSN, APRN, WHNP-BC
Breast cancer is a common concern and affects women’s health worldwide. Increasing your knowledge of sex hormones in breast health will help you understand the nature of this disease better.
The importance of progesterone
The hormones generally associated with the growth of breast tissue are estrogen and progesterone. Most breast cancers have receptors that respond to these hormones. Cancer cells grow in response to estrogen, whereas progesterone can balance this undesirable effect. Progesterone can bind to both progesterone and estrogen receptors in breast cells. When progesterone is raised to healthy levels compared to estrogen, it turns on genes that can slow tumor growth and reduce the size of any existing tumors.
Progesterone and BHRT
When talking about breast cancer prevention, progesterone has a protective effect. It is imperative to include it as part of the formulation of your Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy. Natural bioidentical progesterone should not be confused with progestin, the synthetic molecularly altered form of progesterone. Clinical findings in the early 2000s, relating hormone replacement with breast cancer, were associated with the use of estrogen alone or with a combination of estrogen and progestin.
During pregnancy, progesterone is produced at a higher rate. Studies confirm that multiple pregnancies have a protective effect against breast cancer.
Other causes of breast cancer
Other factors are affecting a woman’s chances of developing breast cancer. Fat cells can produce estrogen, which is why obesity is also a risk factor. There are also inherited gene mutations that can increase a person’s risk of breast cancer. Chronic inflammation increases overall cancer risk, as well. There is a relationship between inflamed cells and tumor development in disease. A robust immune system can recognize abnormal cell development and respond to protect the body. Progesterone is a potent anti-inflammatory and known to restore antioxidant activity in tissue. By utilizing the natural bioidentical hormone progesterone, we can improve our immune system, and benefit from the protective effects it has against breast cancer. Some risk factors are beyond our control, but many are controllable, and we can focus on those to help protect us from the disease.
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