Dr. Heward shares what he tells menopausal women who are considering hormone replacement therapy/HRT, but are afraid by the Women's Health Initiative/WHI findings.
Well, let's take a look at the Women’s Health Initiative and see what those findings are. The findings were a confirmation of breast cancer and breast cancer is worth being scared of, to some extent. It’s a fairly rare cancer, but it does happen, and it’s nothing to shake a stick at. But what women don’t appreciate is the fact that the big killer of women, far more women die from cardiovascular disease than die from breast cancer.
So if a woman really does derive cardio-protective benefits from estrogen and reduces significantly the risk of the major threat, which is cardiovascular disease, while at the same time increasing the risk of a minor threat, she is going to come out net ahead by taking estrogen versus not taking it. In addition, she has all these quality of life issues that are benefits of estrogen replacement.
So, on balance, estrogen is beneficial both for quality of life and longevity, and that’s really why estrogen is associated with reduction of all-cause mortality. The realty is, in study after study, women who take estrogen in spite of the known quantified risk, increase in risk of breast cancer, live longer. And in fact, even in the population of women who are on estrogen in whom we see a higher incidence of breast cancer, there’s no higher mortality for breast cancer, and one of the reasons for that may be is that there may be a heightened surveillance associated with women being on estrogen, so they catch the cancer earlier.
About Dr. Heward, Ph.D:
Dr. Christopher B. Heward is past-President of Kronos Science Laboratory. His primary responsibility was providing scientific and technical leadership for all laboratory activities. He oversaw the development and implementation of the clinical laboratory testing program; assisted in designing and refining both internally and externally sponsored clinical studies; directed and coordinated diagnostic product research and development; administered laboratory and patient databases; was principal investigator for the Kronos Longitudinal Aging Study (KLAS); and communicated Kronos’ discoveries and advances to lay and scientific audiences via presentations and publications. Dr. Heward’s research interests included healthy aging, endocrinology, oxidative stress, Alzheimer’s disease, prion disease (TSE) and menopause. Dr. Heward attended the University of Arizona and received a Bachelor of Arts degrees from both the Department of Psychology and the Department of Chemistry, as well as a Bachelor of Science degree from the Department of Biology. He earned his PhD from the Department of Biology in 1981.
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