The TV news recently announced that a new drug trade name Femara has been found to reduce breast cancer in menopausal women by 50%. The new drug, it turns out, is a well- known aromatase inhibitor (letrozolel) made by Novartis. Inhibiting aromatase inhibits estrogen production that normally occurs in body fat. In menopausal women, this is their only source of endogenous estrogen. Without estrogen, progesterone receptors disappear, making it impossible for progesterone to perform any of its multitude of beneficial roles. The only sex hormone left functioning is testosterone. The point of this treatment, if there is any, is that it illustrates rather well that estrogen causes breast cancer. But the woman is living without any estrogen or progesterone. Consider the osteoporosis, the rampant vaginal atrophy, the rapid aging, and the many other symptoms of hormone deficiency. Estrogen and progesterone are important to women at all ages. The estrogen cancer risk is due to unopposed estrogen; restore proper hormone balance and the breast cancer risk fades away. Conventional medicine in the past 40 years veered into estrogen dominance and the disaster that caused, and now this new treatment veers into extreme sex hormone deficiency. Doesn’t anyone consider the desirability of proper hormone balance?
Time magazine (20 October issue) featured this drug and its breast cancer sparing effect, without explaining clearly what it does or what problems it caused. The drug’s inhibition of estrogen production in breast and body fat is not news. My 2000 PDR makes the same claim. The source was a study reported online by the New England Journal of Medicine, but not printed in the journal. I don’t know about you, but the whole thing strikes me as an advertisement dressed up as a legitimate medical article.
John R. Lee, M.D.