ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Health»
  • Diseases, Disorders & Conditions»
  • Cancer

Conflicting Role of Estrogen: A Villain and A Possible Savior in Breast Cancer

Updated on August 16, 2013

What is Estrogen?

Estrogen is essential for normal sexual development and functioning of female organs important for childbearing like the ovaries and uterus. It also helps regulate the woman's menstruation cycle. It stimulates the development of the secondary female sex characteristics: rounded breasts and hips and pubic hair. It also helps maintain the heart and healthy bones.

This hub is in connection to my Breast Cancer Awareness: Lumpectomy VS. Mastectomy hub. Please check that hub, too.

Estrogen - Cause and Treatment of Breast Cancer?

One major factor in the cause of breast cancer is estrogen. This is a shocking thought to us, women. The same hormone (estrogen) that makes our hair thick, makes our skin soft, fills out our hips and breasts and makes our waists curve also cause tumors and cancers on breasts.


Excessive secretion of estrogen may result in the formation of breast tumors and cancers, as well as ovarian cysts or tumors of the uterus.


In part, breast cancer has the highest rate in developed countries, scientists say, because with better nutrition we reach menstruations earlier and menopause later, thus allowing estrogen to course through our bodies for that much longer.


The bright side to this is that estrogen can now be used as breast cancer treatment. The most exciting development is the introduction of a new class of drugs called aromatase inhibitors, which are used by postmenopausal women against late-stage tumors and may prove more effective when tumors are diagnosed early.

Tamoxifen Molecule

Breast Cancer Drugs


Tamoxifen(Nolvadex®) is routinely given to woman who has high risk for recurring tumors. This was hailed seven years ago as the first drug approved for reducing the risk of getting breast cancer (rather than just treating it). It is far from perfect because it increases the risk of uterine cancer and fatal blood clots.


Raloxifene Molecule

Raloxifene (EVISTA®) which was originally designed to prevent osteoporosis, also appears to block breast cancer. It seems to have fewer side effects, and the study comparing the two drugs: tamoxifen and raloxifene won’t be available until this year 2009.


Tamoxifen and raloxifene are known as “designer estrogens.” They work as substitutes of the body’s natural estrogen on the surface of breast cancer cells, thus preventing tumor to develop.

Researchers are studying on who will most likely benefit from any of these “designer estrogens.” It turns out that raloxifene is the most effective for the postmenopausal women who have naturally high levels of estrogen. Tamoxifen, on the other hand, offers little or no benefit to women who carry the BCRA1mutation, which is one of two genetic mutations known to cause an inherited form of breast cancer. And women who carry BRCA2 in their gene, tamoxifen can lower their risk of breast cancer.

Women who are taking tamoxifen should continue doing so. Doctors will almost certainly have more drugs to choose from in the future; they may use designer estrogens and aromatase inhibitors in sequence to try to keep breast cancer cells off-balance.


Aromatase inhibitors

Aromatase inhibitors block the action of an enzyme that produces estrogen. Studies suggest that these drugs can shrink tumors before surgery and may prevent breast cancer from recurring. These drugs could one day replace tamoxifen and raloxifene.

Of course, the ultimate goal for the researchers is to keep breast cancer from taking hold in the first place, and estrogen will play a role in achieving that. The researchers have begun the test to temporarily suppress the body’s natural estrogen and they provide birth control drugs along with protection from breast cancer. This can be accomplished by combining ovulation-stopping drug with tiny doses of female hormones to protect tissues like bone and brain.

A pilot study has been conducted at the University of Southern California in women with a family history on breast cancer. It showed that a dosage regimen –ovulation-stopping drug and tiny doses of female hormones, reduced breast density, making mammogams easier to read. And there is an added benefit to it; the treatment cut their menstrual cycle to three times a year.

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • Peaceful life profile image

    Peaceful life 6 years ago from Las vegas

    a good peace of information, nice work

  • beth811 profile image
    Author

    beth811 7 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas

    Ingenira - I'm sorry to hear about your condition. Best wishes to you.

    Thank you for your comment.

  • Ingenira profile image

    Ingenira 7 years ago

    Wow, these are really scientific information from medical field. I have read quite a bit on estrogen myself since I suffer from endometriosis. I have to keep the estrogen level low, and I do it with special endo diet. It works for me.

  • beth811 profile image
    Author

    beth811 8 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas

    Thanks for reading this hub, Ambition.

  • Ambition398 profile image

    Ambition398 8 years ago

    What a great - and timely - hub.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)