Sunday, February 28, 2010

Cancer and Your Hormones

Cells, fed by estrogen and insulin that continue to grow in the absence of progesterone past a programmed growth phase, have all sorts of potential for genetic and immunological mistakes to be made.

We call those mistakes cancer.

In reality, the mutational changes that are the hallmark of metastatic cancer are not caused by mistakes during repeated cellular divisions or assaults by toxic pollutants, rather those changes are caused by the fall-off of regulatory hormones that control the switches on your very DNA for the growth and death of your cells.Knowing that progesterone deprivation is the key to cancer at midlife for women makes the research showing that women who have given birth multiple times, and thereby experienced long periods of placental progesterone, have much less cancer --it makes those findings make sense in a whole new way. When we examine the statistic that the incidence of breast cancer in our grandmother’s day was 1 in 21, and in our mother’s generation it was up to 1 in 18, it becomes painfully obvious that our standing at 1 in 8 (in one generation) is self-inflicted.
Our lack of childbearing has prevented the long periods of progesterone exposure necessary to buy time. Repeated pregnancies and bouts of lactation added up to a savings of at least 150 eggs a month or 1350 per birth, and if Grandma nursed for a year or so, another 2100. That means a savings of about 3500 eggs per child. Do the math. Grandma, in her day, would have given birth four to eight times; maybe Mom had three or four. That’s 10,000 to 15,000 eggs for Mom and twice that for Grandma. That means Mom and Grandma extended their reproductive lives at least two extra years for every child made viable. Eight children would have extended Grandma’s hormonal protection sixteen extra years. Not a bad deal, all in all. That formula pretty much explains not only the above statistics, but why we experience peri-menopause for fifteen years and why they, on the other hand, went from child bearing to menopause at a later age and with fewer physiological repercussions. So the smug assumption that if our mothers and our grandmothers were just fine without hormone replacement then we will be too, may be far from a reasonable one. For all time,the only way to beat the reaper was to rack up points by winning at the game of life. For a woman--or any animal, for that matter--that meant to be fruitful and multiply.

Apparently, biology is destiny.

Evidence and logic amply support the theory that random and irregular ovulation due to declining egg stores creates a scenario that features an over-abundance of estrogen hanging in the balance against a hit-or-miss supply of progesterone for a good ten to fifteen years. .

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Thanks for joining my revolution to educate women about their hormones! Let's work together.