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Estrogen and Breast Cancer?

Updated on August 22, 2016
Copyright Ruth Elayne Kongaika
Copyright Ruth Elayne Kongaika

What do you think?

Do you believe the benefits of female hormone replacement outweigh the risks?

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Do the benefits outweigh the risks?

There has been so much controversy regarding female hormone replacement in the past twenty years. I have been following the many developments closely. You see, in 1980 I had a hysterectomy. I was only 29 years old. This drastic surgical procedure helped me in some ways, but it also robbed me of the production of estrogen, which all women need. Estrogen keeps you young, virile, and feminine. Over the next few years, I experienced what most women have during menopause, night sweats, mood swings, loss of breast mass and libido. I was too young to be old.

During the next several years I tried very hard to find a doctor that would help me get my zest for life back. A friend of mine in Hawaii suggested I go and see a doctor who believed in female hormone replacement. I took her recommendation and the elderly doctor was very concerned at my condition. He gave me shots of estrogen and Vitamin B. I could not believe how much better I felt after only a few weeks. I had gotten so depressed with my condition and my quality of life was substandard.

I had four young children under eight years and they needed me and I again felt that I needed them. My husband noticed a difference right away when I returned after a few months of treatments. Life began again. Instead of shots, I took the estrogen in pill form but if I forgot to take it, I really would notice a difference in my energy level, mood and outlook. I became a convert to the value of female hormone replacement.

I became aware of the controversy over estrogen replacement. I was made to feel that I was only killing myself since the risk of breast cancer was so much higher. So then started the guilty feelings, but because of my experience, I would not stop taking the pills. You will find doctors that are either very against the treatment or supporters of it. I sought out those doctors that believed as I did.

I had a mammography every year (a procedure I really do not look forward to). One year the technician found some abnormalities on my mammography. I prepared myself to die soon and told myself I should have known better. They did another mammography to check further. It turned out to be nothing serious except fibrous breast tissue. Now I had died twice. I felt very blessed to be able to live another day, year, and decade.

Now after raising all of my children to adulthood and watching them marry wonderful spouses, I am still on estrogen replacement and feel fine. Now I have a dozen beautiful grandchildren that I adore. Life is full.

I feel so fortunate to still be able to work, garden, paint, and write about my experiences. I know others have not been as lucky. I watched as a young mother of several children was diagnosed with breast cancer and within six months, she passed away. I know some people have the cancer gene written into their DNA. Actually my own paternal aunt died of breast cancer in her 70s. I am still not out of danger, but I will continue to take estrogen replacement. The benefits outweigh the risks in my estimation.

Just as an aside, I also have primary biliary cirrhosis of the liver, which is also a precancerous condition. I take a medication on a daily basis to control this. Wow, I must be a ticking time bomb! But, I am enjoying each day of my life while I am still here.

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