Breast Cancer: Prevention vs. Early Detection

As I was preparing for a recent talk on hormones, I came across a rather startling statistic: the incidence of death from breast cancer.  Depending on which statistic you look at, mortality rates have either not changed at all over the last 20 years, or have decreased by up to 44 per cent. Published data from the Canadian Cancer Society in 1989 estimates that the mortality rate for breast cancer was 24 per 100,000 people. According to their latest statistics the projected mortality rate for 2018 is predicted to be 23.2 per 100,000 people.

These statistics are worrying, as breast cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in Canada, accounting for 13% of all cancers and 25% of all cancers among females. The Canadian Cancer Society indicates that a woman’s lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is 1 in 8. This figure has remained relatively constant for years.

Most of the scientific focus remains on early detection of the disease, as opposed to prevention. It is thought that by the time breast cancer is detected in a woman, it has been present for at least 10 years. It takes this long for the number of cancer cells to grow to the point of being detected. Wouldn’t it be amazing if there were steps you could take now to prevent a cancer that could develop ten or more years later? Looking at some of the treatment recommendations currently being made, there is appreciation for the role estrogen can play.

Did you know that high-dose estrogen (yes, you read that correctly) was the endocrine treatment of choice in postmenopausal women with advanced breast cancer prior to the introduction of tamoxifen in the 1970’s? Tamoxifen became the preferred treatment because it had the same response as high-dose estrogen but had fewer side effects.

Next month, I will look at how a woman of any age can test how estrogen is metabolized in their body, and how a simple urine test can help predict your likelihood of developing breast cancer. I will also discuss steps that can be taken to potentially change your risk of developing breast cancer.

Patient Story: Meredith

When Meredith* (name changed at patient’s request) first came to my office after a recommendation from her pharmacist, she hadn’t had a full night’s sleep in over two years. She was on several medications, but none were working.

I soon learned sleeping wasn’t her only complaint. She was experiencing vaginal dryness, pain and bleeding, and as a result was having intimacy issues with her husband.

When hormones are out of balance, the side effects can take over and make life difficult. Meredith wanted a natural treatment, and the only thing her physician had recommended were pharmaceutical drugs. She was ready for a change.

Patients react differently to bio-identical hormone treatments, as every body is different. Meredith reacted amazingly. Almost right away, she was sleeping through the night. After years of struggling, she finally had a natural solution to her sleeplessness.

Once we had her sleep schedule on track, we worked on a plan for her vaginal dryness and bleeding. I recommended the MonaLisa Touch Laser Treatment. The MonaLisa is designed to restore the trophic conditions of the vaginal and the vulvar area. She was able to receive this treatment from me at my private clinic on her own schedule.

After years of struggling to be intimate with her partner, Meredith was eager for a solution.

Two weeks after her initial treatment, she saw vast improvements. By the end of her treatment, she was able to be intimate with her husband with no negative side effects.

It took Meredith 5 months from when I was recommended to her to book an appointment. She explained that fear was why she held back. Fear of the unknown. Fear of change. Fear of another course of treatment that wouldn’t work.

After the first appointment, like with many of my patients, she said to me “why didn’t I do this sooner?”

No drugs. No bleeding. No Fear. This is what Meredith said to me years later when I asked her to recount her experience.

It makes me incredibly happy to help women like Meredith through their health journeys, and if you are experiencing symptoms that impact your life, cast fear aside and make the choice to change your life for the better. I would be honoured to work with you on your journey to a happier, healthier you.

-Dr. George Arnold
905-472-6209

Long Term HRT Use

I am often asked by patients when they should stop their hormone medications.

Previously, it had been recommended on the traditional side to try to taper or stop hormone medication after being on them for 5 years. However, many women would notice that either while trying to taper their medications or after stopping their medications that they just did not feel well at all. Their bodies were telling them that they needed what they had been using.

In 2017 there were some important developments with regards to hormones and their benefits over time.

The following study followed women over the course of 12 years and concluded that women on hormone replacement therapy had lower all-cause mortality. What does this mean? It means that women taking hormones had a lower risk of dying than women not on hormones and the ones that were on hormones and not dying from heart disease were not at higher risk of dying from something else, for example cancer. This is a good news story. As one of my cardiology colleagues commented: “How amazing it is that taking hormones makes women live longer!”

With regards to how long to take hormones, there is an authoritative group in the USA called the North American Menopause Society (NAMS). This group looks at all the studies with regards to hormones and issues guidelines for physicians. In July 2017, NAMS released the following change to their guidelines:

4 Takeaways

  • HRT is good for the heart
  • HRT is good for LIFE
  • Don’t stop HRT based on age
  • Don’t stop HRT based on duration of use

Want to learn more? Pick up your copy of my book, Feel Your Best. Live Your Best., here: http://georgearnoldmd.com/product/feel-your-best-live-your-best-a-natural-return-to-hormone-balance/ and take advantage of half price shipping for a limited time!

Patient Story: Jo-Anne Binns

My name is Jo-Anne Binns, I’ll be 55 next week.

I started taking bio identical hormones in my 40’s having peri-menopausal symptoms. I originally heard about these safe hormones via Oprah and Suzanne Somers raving about them in television interviews and subsequently reading and researching endlessly. My symptoms were:

depression
sense of hopelessness
lethargy
headaches
no libido

I suffered with extreme abdominal pain which went undiagnosed for over 4 years. I eventually found a wonderful Endometriosis Doctor suggesting exploratory laparoscopic surgery. I had two surgeries and was finally diagnosed with fibroids, ovarian cysts, adenomyosis and endometriosis. After several years of pain and this diagnosis, I agreed to a complete hysterectomy including removing  my ovaries.

I literally woke up the morning post surgery in the hospital with total body joint pain from my neck to my toes. Seems removal of one’s ovaries will place you directly into menopause.

Dr. Arnold saw me and immediately adjusted and re-prescribed appropriate bio-identical hormones and within no time (less than a week) I was feeling amazing and have felt like my old self ever since. It was as though a light switch had finally been turned on.

Now my symptoms are:

no joint pain
no hot flashes
no sleepless nights or night sweats
no depression
no headaches
lots of energy
libido is back
no weight gain

Friends complain about hot flashes, depression, no energy wondering how I feel so energetic and don’t have these horrible symptoms of menopause. I tell anyone that will listen how bio-identical hormones will change your life and in some cases, give you your life back again.

I met a woman well into  her 80’s while waiting for meds in a compounding pharmacy… she was feeling so good and had been her entire life due to bio-identical hormones. Without asking I guess she felt the need to let me in on her secret and how her bio-identical hormones gave her vitality and a feeling of well-being non of her friends felt.

How amazing I thought, but guess what, I’m already in on the secret.


Want to learn more? Pick up your copy of my book, Feel Your Best. Live Your Best., here: http://georgearnoldmd.com/product/feel-your-best-live-your-best-a-natural-return-to-hormone-balance/ and take advantage of half price shipping for a limited time!

Periandropause – Perimenopause for Men

Andropause

Nowadays, it is also becoming more well-known that men go through their own version of menopause—for them, the midlife change is known as andropause. In andropause, men experience many of the same symptoms women in menopause feel: fatigue, depression, irritability, anxiety, loss of memory or concentration, loss of sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and more. And just like women, men can also go through their own version of perimenopause known as periandropause. Periandropause can occur when a man’s hormone levels start to decline.

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Progesterone: Helping Carry Pregnancy to Term

Progesterone | Pregnancy

Often, if a woman is able to conceive, but has trouble carrying to term, it’s because of progesterone production. Progesterone is the main female reproductive system hormone and it plays a vital role in fetal development during pregnancy. It prepares the inner lining of the uterus for pregnancy by signaling for its walls to thicken in preparation for accepting a fertilized egg. Progesterone also keeps the uterus’ muscles from contracting so that it doesn’t reject the egg, and the production of this crucial hormone also prevents ovulation.

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Progesterone: Keeping Postpartum Depression at Bay

Progesterone after birth hormone

Louise was 34 and pregnant with her second child when she came to visit me for relief from worsening depression. She had experienced mild postpartum depression (PPD) following her first delivery three years prior, but had taken no medication for the condition at that time. At 30 weeks, I started her on a bioidentical progesterone cream. Within two weeks, her depression had subsided and after delivery, she experienced zero postpartum depression.

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Thyroid: A Small Hormone with Big Impact

Thyroid

Slowing down in later years is part of the aging process. But sometimes there’s another culprit behind the decline people feel—hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormone to keep your body operating at optimum levels. When your thyroid hormone levels are low, your metabolism slows, which can lead to a host of other conditions.

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