It is a fluke of the news cycle that if we don’t hear a product warning frequently, we can “forgive” that product and think it has somehow become safe. While no one would “forgive” cigarettes, lead in drinking water or mercury in tuna, the public has definitely forgiven hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for menopause.
Still, a December follow-up of subjects in the federal Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) reconfirms the risks, finding that “breast cancer risk from menopause hormones may last decades.” Women prescribed HRT 19 years ago still had a 29 percent greater incidence of breast cancer said the analysis.
It has been over 17 years since the WHI found that HRT increased the risk of breast cancer by 26 percent, heart attacks by 29 percent, stroke by 41 percent and doubled the risk of blood clots. Who would take a drug like that?
HRT also doubled the risk of dementia in women in a related study. Women on HRT were found to be more likely to lose their hearing, develop gall bladder disease, urinary incontinence, asthma, melanoma and need joint replacement said medical journals. They were at greater risk of ovarian, endometrial and lung cancers and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Many were shocked at the dangerous side effects from HRT since Pharma-paid ghostwriters had shamelessly told doctors and patients just the opposite in “research” planted in scientific articles. Disinformation which still stands today to dupe future generations.
Cancer Rates Fell When Women Quit Menopausal Hormones – in Two Different Decades
Not only did HRT increase the risk of breast cancer, it made detecting the cancer more difficult, increasing the risks. As early as 1995, an article in the journal Radiology said, “an increase in mammographic density” was demonstrated in most subjects undergoing continuous combined HRT. Other articles revealing the risks followed.
Worse, the contribution of HRT to breast cancer was so clear and unarguable, in one year after millions of women dumped HRT, 2003, the incidence of breast cancer fell seven percent. It fell 15 percent in women whose tumors were fed by estrogen. The cancers were iatrogenic – caused by “treatment.” Prescription drugs were killing women.
The drop in cancers should have been embarrassing to cancer researchers and public health officials. A major cause of cancer was right in front of their eyes in the form of prescription drugs. Anyone taking a statistics 101 course could have seen it but the love affair between mainstream medicine, mainstream media and Pharma occluded the obvious correlation.
Worse – the entire scenario had happened before! Endometrial cancers had resulted from a menopausal hormone bonanza in the 1970s. And there was a similar drop off of cancer when women went off the hormone prescriptions.
From July, 1975, to July, 1977, “there was a sharp downward trend in the incidence of endometrial cancer that paralleled a substantial reduction in prescriptions for replacement estrogens” wrote the New England Journal of Medicine.
Greed Explains the Tenacity of HRT
Soon after the HRT meltdown, hormone makers and prescribers vehemently attacked studies that found risks. For many it had been their most rewarding franchise and they weren’t going to give it up without a fight. Subjects were “too old,” they said and women should start HRT earlier. Ka-ching.
Some hormone zealots contended that only the “estrogen and progesterone” arm of the WHI showed cancers whereas “estrogen only” showed few dangers and many benefits. But a WHI analysis flatly disagrees with the contention.
“Estrogen-alone cannot be recommended for prevention of chronic disease because of the increased risks of stroke, blood clots, gallbladder disease, and urinary incontinence in addition to the lack of reliable knowledge from randomized trials about long-term effects if treatment is continued.” – WHI
One stalwart hormone cheerleader recently promoted hormone therapy (still! – in 2020) for postmenopausal women in the New England Journal of Medicine despite “receiving grant support paid to the University of Virginia from TherapeuticsMD,” a for-profit corporation selling hormones. Why are product pushers allowed to write in medical journals? Why are academic institutions taking money from product pushers? The public and many medical professionals not funded by Pharma should be outraged.
What About Birth Control Pills?
More than 50 years ago, the breast cancer risks of hormonal birth control pills were exposed by Barbara Seaman in The Doctor’s Case Against the Pill and reiterated in her follow-up book The Greatest Experiment Ever Performed on Women. The medical establishment largely ignored her well-documented books.
Then, like now, the drugs were spun by Big Pharma and the doctors and medical associations it funds though stipends and grants (and the medical/mainstream press it funds through ask-your-doctor ads). Women were and are told if they use hormonal birth control pills it will confer “lifelong protection” against the less common cancers colorectal and endometrial, if they don’t mind elevated breast cancer risks. What?
Before hormonal birth control pills were used in 1960 and when they were widely used in 2003, estrogen-receptor-positive and lobular cancers, which had been “relatively uncommon,” increased by 799%.
What kind of medical/pharmaceutical industrial complex makes women choose between different types of cancers when they take its drugs?