Think twice before you say “yes”
Not a day goes by without me talking to a woman who has been on hormonal replacement therapy and who is suffering the consequences of the drug. Weight gain, tender breasts, painful, heavy legs, continuous menstruation in their late fifties, even in their seventies! They also complain of a bloated stomach or nausea as the drug also has an effect on the liver. In many instances, they ask for alternative help with their hot flushes as they are hastily taken off the drug when cancer of the breast is diagnosed, leaving them high and dry after being told to take hormonal replacement therapy as if it is the miracle drug to sustain a woman at a time of her life when her own body turns against her by producing less oestrogen! How did women get into all of this panic around menopause? The proliferations of popular women’s magazines, which are supposed to be informative and helpful in women’s lives, get mileage from publishing alarmist articles about menopause. Medical information via press and TV do the same. The journalists draw their information from sources which are not always substantiated, such as internet and opinions of people in the field. Even professional people can have a biased view which is not always true. In this regard, I lay myself open to attack as I am obviously also expressing a view.
However, the information leading to a woman deciding to use hormone replacement therapy becomes of no importance when she is diagnosed with a life-threatening breast tumour. She really does not care who is right or wrong. Point is, she is one of many who have become ill and now has to face the consequences of her choices to have started herself on this path. Does it matter to her at this stage to know for sure what caused the cancer? Not really. And so the professional people debate the issue for and against the use of hormones; how much, when and how to keep it safe. If it was safe, none of the changes in dosages and combinations would be necessary. Statistics are quoted to placate the user of the benefits outweighing the possible harmful side effects. Surely, the drug which increases oestrogen levels must be questioned, as women requiring breast cancer treatment are swiftly taken off this drug again to suppress their oestrogen levels! Not all breast cancers are caused by hormonal replacement therapy that I know. But, how many are? Can we ask for an answer as many women are being persuaded to go onto the drug, mainly for osteoporosis prevention, without warning them of a possible link to breast cancer. Surely the consumer should know all the possibilities to be able to make an informed choice, or are we still stuck in the time when she has to do as she was told by someone else who knows what is best for her?