Is there a natural solution to estrogen management for breast cancer? The answer is yes and no. I believe that there is. However, to date, there are no natural supplements that have been compared with aromatase inhibitors side by side to verify that they are equal substitutes or even superior to pharmaceutical drugs. Clinical trials are not likely to be done, simply because there is not enough financial reward to big Pharma; in other words they have nothing to gain and tons to lose by funding research for natural solutions such as consumption of foods such as button mushrooms, broccoli and pomegranate.
However, many nutraceuticals (food and supplements such as those above) are known to effectively block or manage estrogen, and there are natural compounds that can help protect against the side effects and boost the efficacy of aromatase inhibitors and Tamoxifen and therefore allow for the option of taking a lesser and therefore less toxic therapy.
We also know that there are many estrogen promoters and supporters that need to be avoided, such as xenoestrogens, which act like estrogens produced by the female body and can boost unbalanced estrogen levels. Phytoestrogens, on the other hand, are a whole other story and will be addressed further in a separate post as while complicated, can be beneficial.
Why not the “big guns”?
It is no secret that hormone sensitive cancers are dependent on unbalanced estrogen in the body to fuel their growth. Aromatase inhibitors are effective in reducing levels of unbalanced estrogen in the body and SERMs such as Tamoxifen interfere with hormone activity. I won’t get into the side effects or resulting effects of these drugs, but suffice it to say that the list is lengthy. Given the toxicity and known side effects of estrogen blocking drugs, we must explore natural compounds that not only manage estrogen, but that help prevent recurrence and metastasis on many fronts.
Sadly, whether out of ignorance or fear of prosecution, most doctors do not promote or support natural means for estrogen management. However, remember, cancer is not just estrogen fueled. Cancer is dependent on a cancer-friendly environment; if we do not change the environment in which it was able to grow, we increase its chance of returning. These drugs that are offered offer no solution to changing the cancer environment. Nutraceuticals, on the other hand, are non-toxic and are quite beneficial to overall health, including fighting cancer and creating an unfriendly cancer environment. Exercise, sleep, and stress management also play a major role in the balance of estrogen and in risk reduction.
So, until there is funding for clinical trials for natural solutions, we must rely on our own intuition, research, knowledge and common sense in our approach to a natural solution to estrogen management and risk reduction for breast cancer. For now, the answer lies outside of definitive, quantitative studies. Many, many people have healed their cancers and prevented recurrence via natural means, but these successes are not quantified in published trials and are often dismissed or ignored by their doctors.
To read more on natural solutions for estrogen:
While these articles are a bit dated, they do provide some good information. New research comes out continuously, and it is my quest to stay abreast of it and share with you this knowledge:
With my deepest respect and gratitude,
~~If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any~~
Elyn Jacobs is a breast cancer survivor, professional cancer coach, radio talk show host, speaker, and the Executive Director for the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation. She is also on the peer review board of the Natural Standard Database. Elyn empowers women to choose the path for treatment that best fits their own individual needs. She mentors women who are coping with issues of well-being associated with breast cancer and its aftermath; she is passionate about helping others move forward into a life of health and wellbeing. Elyn has been featured on CNN Money, Talk About Health and more and has contributed to Breast Cancer Answers as well as written for the Pink Paper, Breast Cancer Wellness, Natural Healing-Natural Wellness, Integrative Oncology Essentials, and other publications and newsletters. Elyn lives in New York with her husband and two young boys.
Disclaimer: Nothing in this post represents medical advice, and I encourage you to discuss this information with your integrative oncologist or naturopathic doctor. I have compiled this information solely for those seeking alternatives to pharmaceutical drugs for the management of estrogen and for the management of their cancer. Nothing in the above post is to be considered to be a cure for cancer, despite what the research or experts claim. I do not believe or intend to imply that any one single compound is a cure for cancer. I do believe that natural compounds can significantly reduce cancer risk and increase survival if used alongside a comprehensive anticancer strategy.
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