Close X
Get more out of
by joining the site for free
Free 17-point plan to great health
Twice weekly e-news bulletins
Access to our News, Forums and Blogs
Sign up for free and claim your
17-point plan to great health
Free 17-point plan to great health

Twice weekly e-news bulletins

Access to our News, Forums and Blogs

If you want to read our in-depth research articles or
have our amazing magazine delivered to your home
each month, then you have to pay.

Click here if you're interested
Helping you make better health choices

What Doctors Don't Tell You

In shops now or delivered to your home from only £3.50 an issue!

July 2020 (Vol. 5 Issue 5)

A better class of cancer

About the author: 

A better class of cancer image

Once again in medicine, statistics have triumphed over common sense

Once again in medicine, statistics have triumphed over common sense.

A wealth of epidemiological data now supports the position (still contested by many enthusiasts) that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) causes at least a 30 per cent increase in breast cancer. However, none of the studies has indicated which kind of breast cancer an HRT user is likely to develop slow growing or fast growing, ductal carcinoma in situ, invasive ductal or lobular, or anything else in between.

Susan Gapstur, a cancer epidemiologist at Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago, Illinois, and her colleagues decided to find out. For 11 years, their research project, the Iowa Women's Health Study, followed a random sample of more than 37,000 postmenopausal women to tally who got cancer and which kind.

The study found that women who had used hormones for five years or less were 1.8 times more likely to get invasive carcinoma with "favourable histology" that is, invasive, but slow growing cancer compared to women who'd never used hormones. Those using HRT for more than five years were 2.6 times more likely to develop these tumours. This is the relatively rare, slow growing, and according to the British Medical Journal (1999, 318: 1645), "highly curable" variety of breast cancer (see News, p 10).

Current users of HRT more than quadrupled their risk of developing this type of cancer for five or fewer years and more than doubled it for more than five years, respectively (JAMA, 1999; 281: 2091-7).

Although not prepared to completely go out on a limb, the authors certainly were shimmying up the tree when they implied that their results may mean that women taking HRT get a better type of breast cancer that is, a less aggressive, smaller, better differentiated and generally more friendly sort.

If you've got to get breast cancer, they seemed to be saying, this is definitely the one to have.

Call me old fashioned, but to me, cancer is cancer, and there is no such thing as a good cancer, any more than there is such a thing as a good war. Favourable prognoses are meaningless with a disease that is the second biggest killer in the West. Times columnist John Diamond was one of those with a 92 per cent chance of survival. Recently, he's been told by his doctors that the chemotherapy and surgery failed to arrest the cancer, and there is nothing much they can do for him now but buy a bit of time.

The way I read this study, it is unequivocably bad news: HRT quadruples your risk of cancer if you're currently on it.

To the medical community, however, the study represents no less than a discovery of a way to lick breast cancer. According to Gapstur and Co, "If HRT use selectively increases the risk of the less commonly occurring tumours with a good prognosis, then the overall risks and benefits of hormone use in the

population should be reexamined." What they appear to be saying is that by taking HRT, you're more likely to get a type of breast cancer we can treat and therefore less likely to get the dangerous type. And an editorial in the journal concluded that since this cancer only occurred in 5 per cent of the study population, it doesn't really count, anyway. Ergo: HRT does not cause "real" cancer.

This is the same old mistake doctors always make of considering medicine infallible. Cancer is only highly curable so long as we have a foolproof detection system and foolproof treatment. Only when medical researchers come up with a screening tool with a better track record than mammograms, and a treatment that works better than chemotherapy, can we start talking about a better class of cancer.

!ALynne McTaggart

Gathering stats on kids with mercury damaged teeth image

Gathering stats on kids with mercury damaged teeth

Healing energy image

Healing energy

You may also be interested in...

Support WDDTY

Help support us to hold the drugs companies, governments and the medical establishment accountable for what they do.


Latest Tweet


Since 1989, WDDTY has provided thousands of resources on how to beat asthma, arthritis, depression and many other chronic conditions..

Start by looking in our fully searchable database, active and friendly community forums and the latest health news.

Positive SSL Wildcard

Facebook Twitter

© 2010 - 2020 WDDTY Publishing Ltd.
All Rights Reserved