In July 2002, the WHI (Women’s Health Initiative) published a controversial and much discussed report about menopausal management. News outlets were screaming, “Stay Away From Hormone Replacement Therapy—It Causes Cancer!” In 2007, I wrote a follow up article breaking down the study into what it really meant. Read article.
As I reiterated in my article, the only women in the study who experienced an increased frequency of breast cancer were
those who took Provera (a progestogen known as medroxyprogesterone acetate, a synthetic, man-made molecule unlike real progesterone). The women who were solely on estrogen did not experience increased breast cancer rates. I will not prescribe Provera to any of my patients -- only real, bioidentical progesterone.
This latest study followed 39,000 women for six years and was published in the British Journal of Cancer. The women used a combined HRT with progestogen but it never mentioned the actual name of the drugs. I printed out the fifteen page study and finally, on page nine, the drug names were identified. The most used continual regimen was Premique (comprised of conjugated oestrogen, 625 mcg and medroxyprogesterone acetate, 5 mg).
Other products used contained birth control pill type progestogens instead of Provera. All of the estrogens were given by mouth, not through the skin as a cream or patch.
They used mostly the identical drugs that were used in the Women's Health Initiative Study back in 2002!
What's different? Nothing. The same ol’ drug given the same ol’ way. It’s not surprising they got the same ol’ result.
When reading an article or watching the news, I still see some doctors blaming breast cancer on hormone replacement or natural progesterone. But (and this is important), every time I check out these studies, Provera was ALWAYS the drug used.
Provera is NOT the same as progesterone! Below is an excerpt from my 2007 article about Provera:
Progesterone is a natural human hormone. In addition to reducing cancer of the endometrium, the lining of the uterus (which Provera does do), real progesterone builds bone growth, improves sleep, promotes thyroid function and probably reduces the rate of breast cancer. Provera consists of synthetic altered progesterone and has been known for decades to diminish bone growth (which accelerates osteoporosis). There is a direct warning in the Physicians' Desk Reference regarding Provera and has been shown to increase breast cancer rates in dogs. Read full article.
I don’t understand the reason for this repeated scare tactic -- who doesn’t want women to get the benefits of hormone replacement (or wants to scare them away from using the therapy)? The headlines never use the word Provera or medroxyprogesterone acetate. They just reference general terms such as progestin (or the British version progestogen). Who are they protecting and why?
Unfortunately, a study has never been financed with women using real estradiol given through the skin, matched with real progesterone (taken either orally or through the skin).
Nine years later, I still stand by my 2007 article. There is no new data to change what I wrote back then. In the words of Yogi Berra, “It's deja vu all over again.”
Using the same old bad drugs only gives the same old bad results.