Hormone Therapy Increases Cancer Risk

hormone-therapy-c

Hormones are the substances produced by the glands or organs that perform various functions in the body by traveling to various sites.

Hormone therapy should be considered as a warning of cancer before you consider going for it. Their harm is far more in weight than any long term benefit..

Overview Of Hormones:

Hormones have a specific function in the body according to their specific site. Steroid hormones belong to a class of hormones that are similar chemically but functionally different.

For example, the adrenal glands provide an anti-inflammatory response similar to cortisone hormone. Cortisone is prescribed for allergies, inflammation, rashes and asthma.

Another class of steroid hormones Anabolic steroid. The word anabolic means building up of bodily substance. Administered in the form of creams, pill, injection or gels and are in the laboratory forms. Testosterone that is produced in the testes in men along with the adrenal glands in both men and women. They are known for their effects on muscle building.

Approved Synthetic Hormones Or Steroid Uses:

Now the question arises that if synthetic hormones are carcinogenic (cancer causing) then why are they approved?

The answer to this statement hides in the fact that they have some approved uses as prescribed medication but with some limitations:

  • Steroids and synthetic hormones are supposed to be used for a limited period
  • In specific situations like anemia or breast cancer in women or low testosterone levels in men.
  • In some cases. For example, in any severe illness or injury, the steroids can help to rebuild the weakened tissues

These drugs can also be used in angioedema that is a rare genetic disorder causing episodes of swelling.

Health Risk Of Steroid Use:

Although the steroid preparations have a beneficial role, they are creating a huge health risk including cancer, in the human population. Particularly the youth as they use these drugs in high doses in an attempt to enhance their physical performance and building muscle than the body produces normally.

Following are some possible health effects of steroidal abuse:

  • Increased risk of prostate, liver, breast or kidney cancer
  • High blood pressure
  • Abnormal cholesterol levels increasing the risk of heart attack
  • Premature cessation of bone development and growth
  • Damage to liver
  • Acne
  • In male: Baldness, breast enlargement, shrunken testicles, infertility
  • In females: Dysmenorrhea (irregular menstrual cycle), decreased in breast size, facial and body hair and deepening of the voice.

Contraceptives and Postmenopausal hormones:

Contraceptives and postmenopausal hormones are the synthetic hormones that have natural and synthetic estrogen components. These components are classified as high category cancer-causing agents. Two types of estrogen medications are enlisted in this category:

  • Diethylstilbestrol (DES) – Drug of choice for menopausal symptoms and advanced cancers of the breast further leads to cervical cancer
  • Oxymetholone (Anadrol) – Testosterone steroid that puts clients at higher risk for liver cancer

Estrogen Prescription:

Estrogen medication is prescribed for:

  • Hot flashes (strong feelings of heat and perspiration) particularly in women experiencing menopause
  • Vaginal dryness, itching or burning
  • Prevention of osteoporosis (a state of disease in which bones become thin and weak)
  • Low estrogen levels in young females who do not produce enough estrogen naturally.

Estrogen/Contraceptives Warning:

Estrogen increases the risk of endometrial cancer (the cancer of lining of the uterus). The longer you take the hormonal treatment of estrogen, greater are the chances of developing endometrial cancer. To decrease the risk of cancer, another medication progestin is given with estrogen but increase the risk of breast cancer.

Before starting the estrogen treatment, you must inform your doctor about any past heart disease, smoking, had blood clots, high blood pressure, diabetes, breast lumps or any other underlying problem.

Hormonal Replacement Therapy (HRT):

Hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) leads to a higher risk of developing breast cancer. The initial 2 – 3 years intake of HRT medications are highly crucial periods among women because of breast cancer possibilities.

Hormone replacement therapy treats the symptoms of hormonal imbalance more than replacing hormone’s circulation. It rarely addresses the cause of illness.

Contraindications Of HRT:

Never use HRT if you are:

    • Diagnosed with breast cancer
    • Tested positive for abnormal breast cancer gene (BRCA1 or BRCA2)
    • High risk for cancer

 

Conclusion:

Synthetic hormones, steroid preparations, and hormone replacement therapies bring a higher risk of cancer. Special precautions should be kept in mind while starting on these treatments. They should also be given for a limited amount of time.

Most importantly the young adults should be given nutritional guidelines than prescribing them with steroid use to prevent the risk of cancer.

 

References:

  1. Anabolic steroid abuse
  2. Drug Facts- Anabolic Steroids
  3. Estrogen Therapy
  4. Hormone Replacement Therapy and its Risks
  5. Harm of Steroids
  6. Use of contraceptive pills and risk of cancer

Leave a Reply