The Birth Control Pill The Breast Cancer Connection
There is only one drug in the world so well known that it's called "the Pill." For more than forty years, more people have taken "the Pill" than any other prescribed medicine in the world.
Sex, pregnancy, and contraception have been hot topics for millennia. It wasn't until the U.S. government approved the birth control pill in 1960 that possibilities for contraception changed dramatically. The majority of women - and plenty of men - welcomed "the Pill".
The birth control pill was the first medication ever designed for purely social, rather than therapeutic purposes. At the height of the drugs popularity, U.S. Senate hearings focused the nations attention on potentially deadly health risks posed by the high-dose Pill. As a result of the hearings, pharmaceutical companies lowered the dosages and doctors advised women who were obese, smoked, had high blood pressure or a family history of blood clots against taking the Pill.
In the 1980s, the high dosage 10-milligram pill was removed from the market and biphasic and triphasic oral contraceptives were introduced. Today, women can get a prescription for a Pill containing 1 milligram of progestins, one tenth of the original dose, and containing as little as 20 micrograms of estrogen.
From the very beginning, a significant number of women complained of discomfort from the Pill and switched to other methods. When women wanted to discuss the side effects with their doctors, they often met with frustration. It was common for their complaints to be dismissed as exaggerated. In other cases their ailments were just considered the price that women had to pay in return for such an effective contraceptive. The problem was compounded by that fact that female patients were not always informed about the potential for strokes, heart attacks or blood clots while on the Pill. For the most part sharing "the Pills" risk has become a part of the information provided by health care practitioners who prescribe the Pill.
Today, the safety of the Pill is assumed. However, it is important to remember that the pill contains identical hormones to those found in Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). HRT has come under question because of the Women's Health Initiative Study showing an increase in breast cancer and heart disease for those women who were on HRT.
In October 20, 2004 headlines read "Birth Control Pill Cuts Cancer, Heart Disease Risk: Study - A new study, yet to be published, suggests women who use oral contraceptives have lower risks of heart disease, stroke, and cancer."
This study has now been denied as accurate by the WHI. Analyses by the WHI have made it clear that the recent findings were not correct?
The low dose pill today although deemed to be safe has never undergone a large government-funded study similar to the WHI study on HRT. According to Dr. John R. Lee in his book "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer" women up to age 21 who use the Pill increase their lifetime risk of Breast Cancer by 600%. Caution when considering the use of Birth Control Pill should still be used.
Will My Breast Cancer Come Back Reducing The Risk Of Breast Cancer Recurrence After Surgery
More than 215,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. For many of them, surgery to remove the tumor is just the first step in the battle against the disease, often followed by radiation and/or chemotherapy. After that, these women may need to decide with their doctor whether to have "adjuvant therapy"-medication to help prevent their cancer from coming back.
When a woman's breast cancer does come back or spreads to other parts of the body, she may be at greater risk of dying from the disease. Women whose breast cancer is detected in the nearby lymph nodes at diagnosis and those who receive chemotherapy after surgery are considered to be at increased risk for breast cancer recurrence.
Postmenopausal women whose early-stage breast cancer is hormone-sensitive have a new option as their first hormone therapy following surgery. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved Femara
Solution To Breast Cancer
How long should a patient take tamoxifen for the treatment of breast cancer?
Patients with advanced breast cancer may take tamoxifen for varying lengths of time, depending on their response to this treatment and other factors. When used as adjuvant therapy for early stage breast cancer, tamoxifen is generally prescribed for 5 years. However, the ideal length of treatment with tamoxifen is not known.
How Often Should I Take Tamoxifen?
Two studies have confirmed the benefit of taking adjuvant tamoxifen daily for 5 years. These studies compared 5 years of treatment with tamoxifen with 10 years of treatment. When taken for 5 years, the drug reduces the risk of recurrence of the original breast cancer and also reduces the risk of developing a second primary cancer in the other breast. Taking tamoxifen for longer than 5 years is not more effective than 5 years of therapy.
What is Tamoxifen
Tamoxifen is an oral selective estrogen receptor modulator which is used in breast cancer treatment, and is currently the world's largest selling breast cancer treatment. It is used for the treatment of early and advanced breast cancer in pre- and post-menopausal women. It is also approved by the FDA for the reduction of the incidence of breast cancer in women at high risk of developing the disease. It has been further approved for the reduction of contralateral (in the opposite breast) breast cancer.
Tamoxifen and Cancer
Tamoxifen is used to reduce the risk of breast cancer for women who:
1. are at high risk of breast cancer but have no personal history of the disease
2. have non-invasive, hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer, or DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ)
3. have hormone-receptor-positive invasive breast cancer at any stage.
Tamoxifen is sometimes used to treat gynecomastia in men. Tamoxifen is also used by bodybuilders in a steroid cycle to try and prevent or reduce drug-induced gynecomastia caused by steroids that are used in the same cycle.
Tamoxifen is also used to treat infertility in women with anovulatory disorders. A dose of 10-40 mg per day is administered in days 3-7 of a woman's cycle.
Breast Cancer Estrogen Dominance The Imbalance Of Hormones
Estrogen Dominance is a term coined by the late John R. Lee, M.D., author of a number of books on the topic of women's hormones. The theory of Estrogen Dominance describes a condition where a woman can have deficient, normal or excessive estrogen but has little or no progesterone to balance its effects in the body. Even a woman with low estrogen levels can have estrogen dominance symptoms if she doesn't have any progesterone. Basically estrogen dominance reflects hormones that have gone out of balance. Out of balance hormones can affect women from 14 to 94.
How do we become estrogen dominant? Our food chain is laced with toxic pesticides, herbicides and growth hormones - a sea of endocrine-disrupting chemicals that mimic estrogen in the body. If we are overweight, our body's store of excess fat can be converted into estrogen. Insulin resistance also leads to estrogen dominance. Then there is estrogen found in ERT, HRT and Birth Control Pills.
Estrogen dominance also occurs in men. As men age, estrogen gradually rises, while saliva levels of progesterone and testosterone gradually fall. We often find men of fifty having higher saliva estrogen levels than women of fifty! A sign of estrogen dominance in men is the tendency for some to develop breasts.
An imbalance of hormones in our bodies results in hormone-related health problems such as PMS, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, infertility, post-partum depression, weight gain, increased blood clotting, thyroid dysfunction, even breast and uterine cancer in women and in men breast cancer, prostate problems and prostate cancer.
Estrogen Dominance can be detected by taking a saliva test. This simple test can accurately reveal hormone levels. Men can also take this simple at-home test to determine if their hormones are out of balance.
A saliva test evaluation will either move a man or woman to take action to bring balance to their own hormones or cause them to sit back and reflect on their good hormone health. Those over 50 can take an annual saliva test to keep track of their hormone levels.
Men and women who experience hormone imbalance feel unwell - bringing balance to their hormones is often a key to their wellness. There are safe natural alternatives available to drug therapies. Women and men must become more informed about their own hormone health.
Breast Cancer Information Is Important
Breast cancer usually happens when certain cells located in the breast start to grow out of control, taking over nearby tissue and spreading throughout the body. Large collections of this infected tissue are called "tumors". Some tumors are not even considered to be cancer because they cannot spread throughout the body or threaten a person's life. These types of tumors are called "benign tumors".
The types of tumors that do spread throughout the body and invade the tissues around the breast are considered to be cancer and have been given the name "malignant tumors". It is said that any type of tissue in the breast can form some type of cancer, but it mostly comes from either ducts or glands.
It can take months or even years for a tumor to get big enough for someone to actually feel it in their breast, so they are encouraged to be screened for tumors by a mammogram. Mammograms are designed to detect any type of disease before a person even begins to feel it.
Breast cancer is the most common "malignancy" that affects women in America and throughout Europe. Every single woman is at risk of getting breast cancer and almost 200,000 cases of were said to be diagnosed in the United States in 2001. It is the second highest cause, behind lung cancer, of cancer deaths among women in North America.
The types of risk factors for breast cancer are divided into two types, those you can't change and those you can change. The factors associated with increasing your risk of breast cancer that your can't change include: just being a woman, getting older, or having some type of family history or a relative with breast cancer. Other risk factors are having your menopause late, having children past the age of thirty, or contracting a genetic mutation that would somehow increase your risk.
Certain types of risk factors that you can change are:
- not taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which means that long term uses of estrogens for menopause symptoms does in fact slightly increase your risk.
- stopping the use of birth control pills, because it is noted that ten years following the cessation of The Pill, a woman's risk of breast cancer reverts to what it would have been if she had not used this form of birth control.
However, neither of these risks are as significant as the ones that are associated with your gender, age, and family history.
All the factors are based on probabilities, and that means that a person without any of those mentioned is still subject to developing breast cancer and the best way to be sure is to get the proper screening and detection for breast cancer development.
There are preventative measures that can be taken, up to a point. It is noted that a drug called Tamoxifen is not used widely as a prevention, but it has been proved to be helpful in some cases. There is also a limited amount of data that suggests that Vitamin A may be useful in the prevention of breast cancer, but further research is needed to prove this.
The most important step for a woman to prevent breast cancer is to schedule regular checkups, screenings and mammograms, learn how to perform her own exams, and also to acquire all the information she can about the subject.
Increasing Accuracy And Patient Comfort With Digital Mammography
There's encouraging news for women. Not only is it becoming easier to catch and treat breast cancer in its earliest stages, but new technologies are making the process of diagnosing the disease more comfortable for the patient-and more accurate as well.
The National Cancer Institute recommends mammography screenings every one to two years for women over 40 and annually for women over 50. In addition, women at high risk of developing breast cancer (for example, women with a strong family history of breast cancer or who test positive for the BRCA breast cancer gene) are encouraged to begin annual mammography screenings even earlier-sometimes as young as 25-and should consult a physician.
Benefits and risks
(*) Early detection of small breast cancers greatly improves a woman's chances for successful treatment. If breast cancer is caught and treated while it is still confined to the breast ducts, the cure rate is close to 100 percent.
(*) Clinical studies in the U.S., Sweden and the Netherlands have suggested that deaths from breast cancer could be cut by between 36 and 44 percent if screening mammography were performed annually on all women in their 40s.
One of the most recent advances in breast cancer screening is digital mammography. Digital mammography uses essentially the same system as conventional mammography, but is equipped with a digital receptor and a computer instead of a film cassette.
Digital mammography systems such as Siemens Medical Solutions' Mammomat
A 10 Year Drive To Put The Brakes On Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is a highly treatable disease that now has a survival rate of 85 percent. Yet more than 212,000 women are still diagnosed with the condition each year.
Since early diagnosis is an important key to successful treatment, doctors say it's important that all women over the age of 18 do a Breast Self-Exam (BSE) every month, two or three days after their menstrual cycle. In addition, women between 20 and 39 should have a clinical breast exam at least every three years and women 40 and older should have a mammogram every year.
For the past 10 years, BMW of North America has worked with The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation-the largest fund-raiser for breast cancer research in America-to help spread the message of early detection and to help ensure that breast cancer research continues. The groups' Ultimate Drive program has raised millions to help fund the efforts.
The initiative, fully underwritten by BMW, consists of two fleets of specifically badged BMWs making a cross-country trek, stopping in communities along the way to hold daylong events. People will be invited to test-drive the cars-at no cost to the participants-to raise money for breast cancer research, education and screening treatment programs.
The car company donates $1 directly to the Komen Foundation for each mile driven, along with whatever other proceeds are received from the program. Upon completion of every drive, each participant adds his or her own name to the Signature Vehicle-this year, a BMW 3-Series.
This year's goal is to raise over $1 million, bringing the program's 10-year total up to over $10 million. To help celebrate the initiative's 10th anniversary, the 240-stop cross-country trek has been expanded to include Alaska.
People can test-drive the cars to help fight breast cancer. They can also:
(*) Regularly conduct BSEs, have clinical exams and mammograms
(*) Stop smoking and stressing
(*) Get more exercise
(*) Cut or reduce their alcohol consumption
(*) Watch their diet. Try to eat plenty of olive oil, fruits, vegetables, grains, fresh fish and poultry.
Breast Cancer Ribbon
These days almost every worthy cause finds itself a proper ribbon, without getting into the debate about the use of ribbons and how people use them, there are not many ribbons that I know of that are more important than the breast cancer ribbon.
Breast cancer is a dangerous enemy, while it is true that the awareness to its risks and the understanding of the prevention measures that need to be taken on a regular basis has increased over the years and had probably saved many lives, some people are still not aware of breast cancer and others prefer to live in some sort of denial.
So why is it important to use the pink ribbon and join the fight against breast cancer? First of all it shows the most important thing a person can show, it shows that you care, its shows that you are willing to give a little of your time or energy to try and educate more people, to warn some others and to maybe, just by doing this very small action contribute to saving a life. This is not a joke, sometimes awareness is all that separates the ill from the healthy and the dead from the living, we are at an age where people are learning of new dangers every day, and with all these upcoming potential dangers of terrorism and natural disasters breast cancer has been here long enough and has cause so much pain and suffering that it certainly deserves to be treated as something we should all remember, even on a daily basis.
Every October is the international breast cancer awareness month, this is the time to try and do the most to increase the public awareness of this disease, and educate woman about the ways they can fight breast cancer, this month is also dedicated to raising money for the many different organizations and foundations that are working all year round on helping victims of breast cancer, some of these patients have no money and no funds they can use to try and treat the cancer, and these organizations help them get the support that they need.
So all you got to do is just place one of these pink ribbons on your shirt of jacket, and show the solidarity you have with the breast cancer patients, the victims and the family and friends of those who have been effected by this terrible disease. Remember that you do not have to limit yourself only to the month of October, and that it is enough for only one person to ask you about this ribbon - once a year to make a huge difference, think about hundreds, if not thousands of people like you doing the same thing every day, and each one of these people is approached by an uneducated person, how many lives can be speared.
Lets hope that in the future the fight against breast cancer, as the fight against all kinds of cancer, will achieve its goals and that this disease will claim less victims, that modern medicine and science will find cures and that more and more people around the world will live healthier and happier lives.
Reduce Breast Cancer By 45
A US study of 13,000 patients showed Tamoxifen reduced the rate of expected cancers from one in 130 to one in 236 - a cut of about 45%. The American researchers ended their trial early when they said the drug's benefits became overwhelmingly obvious.
Other studies found that tamoxifen AND chemotherapy improved survival improved survival rates by about 40-50% compared to taking one treatment or the other.
Should women taking tamoxifen avoid pregnancy?
Yes. Tamoxifen may make premenopausal women more fertile, but doctors advise women on tamoxifen to avoid pregnancy because animal studies have suggested that the use of tamoxifen in pregnancy can cause fetal harm. Women who have questions about fertility, birth control, or pregnancy should discuss their concerns with their doctor.
Does tamoxifen cause a woman to begin menopause?
Tamoxifen does not cause a woman to begin menopause, although it can cause some symptoms that are similar to those that may occur during menopause. In most premenopausal women taking tamoxifen, the ovaries continue to act normally and produce estrogen in the same or slightly increased amounts.
Do the benefits of tamoxifen in treating breast cancer outweigh its risks?
The benefits of tamoxifen as a treatment for breast cancer are firmly established and far outweigh the potential risks. Patients who are concerned about the risks and benefits of tamoxifen or any other medications are encouraged to discuss these concerns with their doctor.
Tamoxifen ( ta-MOX-i-fen) is a medicine that blocks the effects of the estrogen hormone in the body. It is used to treat breast cancer in women or men. It may also be used to treat other kinds of cancer, as determined by your doctor.
Tamoxifen also may be used to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer in women who have a high risk of developing breast cancer. Women at high risk for developing breast cancer are at least 35 years of age and have a combination of risk factors that make their chance of developing breast cancer 1.67% or more over the next 5 years. Your doctor will help to determine your risk of developing breast cancer.
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