What I learned after reading “Estrogen Matters”-1

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July 2, 2019

Recently, I have read an English book titled “Estrogen Matters: Why Taking Hormones in Menopause Can Improve Women’s Well-Being and Lengthen Their Lives– Without Raising the Risk of Breast Cancer”. There is currently no Chinese version. The English title is long, but it says all about the main concept of the book– Estrogen is very important , and using hormones in menopause helps women improve overall health and longevity without increasing the risk of breast cancer.”

My previous articles also mentioned about menopausal symptoms, hormone replacement therapy in improving the quality of life and promoting health, and natural hormones does not increase the risk of breast cancer. This book again corroborates the viewpoint that hormone is important and beneficial to menopausal women.

You may ask, who wrote this book? Is he qualified enough to write such a book? Is the content correct? Is it purely his/her own personal opinion/belief or is it really based on science? After all, if the content is not solid scientifically, it could mislead the readers.

Dr. Avrum Bluming, the lead author of the book, is a medical oncologist. The majority of his patients are breast cancer patients. Many female patients, after completing breast cancer treatment or while entering menopause, suffered from menopausal symptoms due to the lack of hormones. Menopausal symptoms not only affect their quality of life, but also are detrimental to long-term health including increased risk of cardiovascular disease, loss of bone density, and deterioration of cognitive function.

Dr. Bluming cited a lot of research literatures trying to tell the readers that using hormones can effectively improve menopausal symptoms, improve quality of life, and prevent diseases, just as the title suggests: Taking hormones in menopause can improve women’s well-being and lengthen their lives.

“Doesn’t hormone cause breast cancer?” You, and many others, may ask.

Dr.Bluming’s answer is right in the title: Without Raising the Risk of Breast Cancer.

The idea that hormones increase risk of breast cancer comes mainly from the reports of the WHI (Women Health Initiative) study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2002, which concluded that “Overall health risks exceeded benefits from use of combined estrogen plus progestin for an average 5.2-year follow-up among healthy postmenopausal US women.”

Dr. Bluming wrote a lot describing the history during that time in 2002. According to his description, the publication of WHI research was a big news that was quite shocking to the medical community and even to the whole world! Before the publication of WHI study, many other studies had shown that the use of hormones had many benefits for women’s health including improving menopausal symptoms and quality of life and so many women would use hormones until the WHI study published.

Right before the WHI study was officially published, many news media had been already widely broadcasting such news. We now know that the power of the media is quite strong with the eye-catching and shocking titles attracting people’s attention fast and easily. The power of the news media at that time soon turned hormone from the key to women’s happiness into the poison that every woman wanted to avoid… (to be continued)

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