Breast cancer screening: a lot of exercise instead of hormones

Hormone treatment increases the risk of breast cancer. Instead of additional hormones, women should move more during menopause.

Up to 30 percent of breast cancer cases could be avoided if postmenopausal patients do not take long-term hormone replacement therapy and instead exercise physically. According to current research studies, herbal extracts can reduce symptoms during the menopause.

Hormone treatment to relieve symptoms during menopause
Hormone replacement therapy is often prescribed to women to balance the emotional and physical stress of menopause. Hormone treatment is said to alleviate symptoms caused by changing endogenous hormone production. From a medical point of view, the only indicators that lead to hormone therapy are postmenopausal complaints such as hot flashes or an undersupply of the vaginal mucosa.

More exercise, less hormones
As calculated by epidemiologists at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, breast cancer could be avoided in up to 30 percent of cases if women took hormone supplements much less instead and did more exercise instead. A total of 10,000 women took part in the study. The experts at the cancer research center found that hormone replacement therapy is the strongest risk factor for the development of breast cancer. In almost 20 percent of the examined cases of invasive breast cancer after the menopause, the use of hormonal drugs was present. In patients who had hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, the disease rate was around 25 percent.

With increasing age, people seem to move less and less. The lack of exercise also adds to the risk of developing breast cancer. The risk factor increases to 38 percent when the two risk factors meet. Cancer researcher Professor Jenny Chang-Claude from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) told the "Ärzte-Zeitung" that the risk increases the longer hormone preparations are taken. Already a two-year intake shows a significant increase in the risk of breast cancer. Chang-Claude carried out the cancer research study together with the lecturer Karen Steindorf and Prof. Dieter Flesch-Janys from the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf.

Hormone treatment is not a lifestyle product
In view of the results, the research team warns against careless use of the preparations. The benefits and risks of hormone treatment would have to be weighed up carefully. Hormone replacement therapy should only be taken if symptoms are present. A longer period of ingestion should also be avoided if possible. In no case should hormone replacement therapy be considered a "lifestyle medication," warned researcher Chang-Claude.

Increased risk of breast cancer has been known for a long time
However, the findings of the study are by no means new. Research has long been able to provide evidence that permanent hormone replacement therapy increases the risk of developing various types of cancer. In the summer of 2003, the "One Million Women Study" caused a sensation worldwide. The study observed around 1 million women over a long period. It was found that women who took longer-lasting hormone treatment were also more likely to have breast cancer. Since then, the form of therapy has been discussed controversially. Proponents stated that hormone replacement therapy could even reduce the risk of dementia, since the therapy stimulates blood circulation. However, scientific studies revealed completely different results and even spoke of a slight increase in risk. In the United States in particular, hormone therapy is now being marketed as a lifestyle drug by pharmaceutical manufacturers. It is suggested to women that taking the preparations, for example, keeps the skin tighter in old age. Although this alleged effect has already been scientifically refuted, this argument continues to promote hormone therapy for menopause.

Obesity and alcohol consumption have only a slight influence
In order to reduce the risk of breast cancer, cancer researchers recommend that you exercise regularly and actively. The study results showed that in addition to hormone treatment, a lack of exercise also increases the risk of cancer. Alcohol consumption and obesity, however, showed only a minor influence on the risk of illness. However, this does not mean that a reduction in overweight and alcohol consumption should be neglected, as the DKFZ researcher emphasized. Chang-Claude suspects that obesity in women is not as important in Germany as in the United States. In the States, women are significantly overweight than here. If you move a lot, you can easily put a few extra pounds on the scales. The main thing is to be active.

Naturopathy in the menopause
Naturopathy knows a whole range of herbal remedies that do not contain estrogens. Research has shown that extracts from the extract "Cimicifuga" help to alleviate menopausal symptoms and alleviate the symptoms. The effect of ethanolic Cimicifuga extracts is based on their influence on the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. The researcher Dr. med. Dana Seidlová-Wuttke from the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at the University of Göttingen was able to determine in a test setup that the plant extracts reduce the side effects of menopause. In addition, an experiment showed that Cimicifuga extracts have a positive influence on the bones and therefore counteract the dreaded bone loss (osteoporosis). (sb)

Also read:
Breast cancer through hormone treatments
Teacher: Breast cancer as an occupational disease?
Dramatic increase in cancer expected
Help for women suffering from estrogen
Naturopathy for menstrual pain

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