Hormone Replacement Therapy: Always Bad, or OK Sometimes?

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Two gynecologists have told my friend S she needs a hysterectomy, which she is scheduled to have in August. She told me that the docs told her that hormone-replacement-therapy would be fine for her afterward. I was shocked, and told her that the reason that breast cancer numbers are lower is that women have cut back on HRT. She countered that the second doctor told her au contraire.

I looked around the 'net and found that this news was broken six months ago. At the big pow-wow for breast cancer oncologists in December in San Antonio (a smart place to go in December) last year, researchers presented evidence that women who take estrogen and have no family history of breast cancer are not at risk for developing it.

The American Association for Cancer Research reported on the findings: While endogenous estrogen (i.e., estrogen produced by ovaries and by other tissues) does have a well-known carcinogenic impact, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) utilizing estrogen alone (the exogenous estrogen) provides a protective effect in reducing breast cancer risk, according to study results presented at the 33rd Annual CTRC-AACR San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held Dec. 8-12.

So now it makes more sense that a gynecologist at Fancy Hospital (who is tuned into non-traditional, or as they call it, integrated medicine, which is really traditional, in that it emphasizes nutrition) told me a couple of months ago that I could have soy products, that they were phyto-estrogenic, but safe for me to take despite having had estrogen-eating tumors. But only soy products that were in a natural form--edamame, soy milk, tofu and the like, not texturized vegetable protein.

I asked her later if she would be my gyne, but alas, she said that she worked only on the study I am taking part in--a screening to prevent ovarian cancer. She also said that I should have 40-60 grams of protein in the morning to help with my memory/chemo brain. Do you know how hard it is to get that, if you don't eat mammals? That's a heap of a lot of soybean. Not a horrendous amount of fish, or turkey bacon, though.