An overview of hormone driven cancers, with particular reference to Prostate and Breast cancer
There has been an exponential increase in breast and prostate cancers in industrialised nations over the past 50 years. One of the possible causes is the exposure to Hormone disruptors or endocrine disrupting compounds, which can be pesticides, industrial coolant and lubricants, flame retardant used in plastic casing, Bisphenol (plastics) and phthalates, (cosmetics, soft toys, air fresheners, medical equipment, flooring ) Alkyl phenols, (mimics oestrogen, degradation product from detergents)and the contraceptive pill (17-alpha ethinylestradiol) to mention but a few.
Most of these compounds are very potent in utero and can affect development of the neuro-endocrine systems, and in a less potent way may affect the genome expression and act as a cancer promoter in adult life1. Some of these hormone disruptors are found in the food chain. (fish and animal products) and others in household dust.
Oestrogen levels in breast tissue are 20 times higher than in blood2, the reason is aromatisation of testosterone to oestrogen. Hormone-disruptors and oestrogens are found in fat cells. This process is promoted by inflammation3-6; therefore pollutants, diet and the environment exacerbate the risk of breast and prostate cancer.
The detoxification of oestrogens in the liver is relevant to the cause and prevention of breast cancer7. A 24 hour urine test measuring the metabolites of oestrogens and the ultimate excretion in the urine via methylation is a useful way to ascertain a possible cause and may help in prevention and treatment of breast and prostate cancer. Nutritional products are now able to treat and reverse some of the metabolic pathways that are not working.
Genetic testing assessing the risks of developing cancer is available, and Gene expression may well be able to be changed, with medication, change of diet and nutritional supplementation8, as well as reducing exposure to environmental pollutants. This is Integrative Medicine at its best using the latest treatments and investigations that are least harmful, often combining orthodox and complimentary treatment. Identifying the Breast Cancer Genome and targeting treatment on an individual basis will soon be available in some centres.
Low Vitamin D3 levels are relevant to the risk of many cancers including prostate and breast cancer and Vitamin D is able to alter gene expression. Therefore levels of Vitamin D need to be above 80-100 nmol/l to decrease the risk, much higher levels to treat cancer.
Most studies on Breast Cancer have not addressed the possibility that exposure to Phytoestrogens early in life, or over several life decades, may confer protective changes. The weight of evidence in humans supports a protective role for Soya in breast cancer risk9,10. A low fat/high fibre diet combined with a Phytoestrogen diet from birth, results in a lower incidence of Breast cancer11.
One in Six men is diagnosed with prostate cancer in a lifetime, but only 1 in 34 men will die due to it.
Treatment options and prognosis are usually from a prostate biopsy, and a Gleason score12.
Complimentary Alternative Medicine protocols differ from Orthodox Medical treatment with a focus on non toxic treatments to contain the cancer. There is little statistical evidence that Radical Prostatectomy, Brachiotherapy, or Radiotherapy improves chances of survival, but may be one option to discuss with your G.P. and Specialist.
Low grade Gleason score prostate cancers can be contained in some cases using the Pfeifer regime, we have seen a 50 percent reduction in PSA’s in 70 percent of patients with minimum side effects13. The Pfeifer Protocol can be used as a complementary treatment alongside existing Orthodox medicine, instead of “watchful waiting “. This also applies to refractory prostate cancer.
Other treatment options are;
Vitamin D3 6000-10,000 units /day
Chelation therapy if heavy metal toxicity is present
Non Dairy Diet
Most of all be positive.!
- Endocrine disruptor. wikipedia.org
- De Jong PC et al. Cancer Res. 1997; 2107-11
- Zhou Y et Al. Endocr Relat Cancer. 2005; Suppl 1: 537-46
- Hussein MZ et Al. Egypt J Immounol. 2004; 11 (2): 165-70
- Montagut C et Al. Endocr Relat Cancer 2006; Jun 13 (2): 607-16
- Saitoh M et Al. Endocrinology. 2005; Nov 146 (11): 4917-25
- Nutritional Influences on Estrogen Metabolism. Met451 1/01; Applied Nutritional Science Report: 2001 Advanced Nutrition Publications, Inc.
- Le Marchand L, Franke AA, Custer L, et al. Lifestyle and Nutritional Correlates of Cytochrome CYP1A2 Activity: Inverse associations with Plasma Lutein and Alpha-Tocopherol. Pharmacognetics. 1997; Vol 7: 11-19
- Adlercreutz H et Al. Effects of dietary components, including lignans and phytoestrogens on enterohepatic circulation and liver metabolism of oestrogen and SHBG. J Steroid Biochem. 1987; 27: 1135-44
- Santell RC, Kieu N, Helferich WG. Genistein inhibits growth of oestrogen-independent human breast cancer cells in culture but not in athymic mice. J Nutr 2000; 130: 1665-69