An Excerpt from: The Cancer Chronicles: Unlocking Medicine's Deepest Mystery

For the past few months, I have subscribed to delanceyplace.com, which drops vignettes from assorted interesting books into my email inbox each weekday morning.  To be candid, I found today's contribution more than a bit disconcerting, and considering that forewarned is forearmed, thought I would share it.

I hope you find the following of value.


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In today's selection - a teenager today may have already experienced more menstrual cycles than her grandmother did during her entire life. A result of this is an increased risk of cancer:

"The less frequently a woman is pregnant, the more monthly menstrual cycles she endures. With each period a jolt of estrogen causes cells in the uterus and mammary glands to begin multiplying, duplicating their DNA preparing for the bearing and the nursing of a child that may not come. Each menstrual cycle is a roll of the dice, an opportunity for copying errors that might result in a neoplasm (tumor). Estrogen (along with asbestos, benzene, gamma rays, and mustard gas) is on the list of known human carcinogens published by the federal government's National Toxicology Program.

"Women these days are also exposed to more monthly doses of estrogen because they are beginning to menstruate at much earlier ages, possibly increasing the risk of breast cancer. A few scientists blame the change on bisphenol A -- a chemical in plastic bottles that mimics estrogen -- but a more widely accepted explanation involves nutrition. With more food to eat, girls mature more rapidly, accumulating fat, and that may serve as a signal that the body is healthy enough to begin ovulation. Over a century the age of menarche, when menstruation begins, has dropped in the Western world from about seventeen to twelve. At the same time women are spending less of their fertile life either pregnant or nursing a child. Lactation also appears to hold estrogen in check. The result of all this is that a teenager today may have already experienced more menstrual cycles than her grandmother did during her entire life."


Author: George Johnson        
Title: The Cancer Chronicles
Publisher: Knopf
Date: Copyright 2013 by George Johnson
Pages: 27

Tags: George Johnson, The Cancer Chronicles, cancer, estrogen

Views: 88

Replies to This Discussion

Yes, I knew about the risk, and it applies to me; reasonably healthy and not even one child. Almost 60 now, and still no alarmbells in my body.

Thanks for the link to delanceyplace, looks like an interesting subscription!

My pleasure, Chris, glad you enjoyed it!

Dr. Mcdougall wrote about this:

The gradual shift from a plant-based diet to a diet of animal-based, high-fat, highly-processed foods has resulted in every society in a decrease in the age of onset of maturity of the boys and girls. ...

Obesity is one cause of higher estrogen levels....

Other sources of estrogen result from the kinds of bacterial populations growing in the intestine.  When fed a high-fat, low-fiber diet, the large bowel will grow bacteria that have the ability to convert bile acids into sex hormones, which are then absorbed through the gut wall and into the blood stream ...

A high-fat diet also raises a woman's estrogen levels by recirculation her own estrogen....

The intake of high-fat foods--especially fish, meat, eggs, fats and oils, and dairy products--is the  primary source of environmental chemicals in the American population.  These chemicals are attracted to, and concentrated in fat--the fat in our foods and the fat in our bodies.  Many of these chemicals (mostly pesticides), such as atrazine, DDT (its metabolite DDE), dieldrin, endosulfan, and toxaphene  have an estrogenic effect.  When studied singly these chemicals may have only a weak estrogenic effect.  However, when the chemicals were tested in combination estrogenic activity shot up 160- to 1600-fold ...

Another interesting source is from dairy products.  In modern dairy farming most dairy cows are pregnant; however, unlike women, they continue to lactate.   Pregnancy causes high levels of circulating estrogen in the animals body.   As a result he milk produced by these pregnant cows contains high levels of estrogen (estrone)

Dr. Mcdougall's info needs to be checked because he is biased. But an independent source agrees with one of his main contentions, that a high-fat diet boosts estrogen levels. Also obesity tends to raise estrogen levels.

ps a gynecologist once recommended that I go on a low dose of the Pill - simulates pregnancy hormonally - to prevent ovarian cancer, since I haven't had children.

Fascinating! I started menstruation at ten years old and suffered monthly until I had a hysterectomy years ago. I had six pregnancies, but five ended in miscarriage and the sixth I had twins. As I sit in the chemo room with 17 chemo chairs, all full every day of the week I wonder where all this cancer comes from? I will start looking at how many men and women fill those chairs. I have not seen any men in the radiation waiting room. There have been probably half a dozen young women, younger than 20 that I visited with in chemo. 

Progress is relative! I can't even imagine what a single head of household with children to support with cancer and all the energy sucked out of one. I had six treatments @ $6,000 each and 18 treatments at $3,000 each. I have no idea how much the radiation costs. What would a family do without insurance? Even an intact family would sink under such stress. 

Take food stamps away from them, and not have comprehensive health care, I see a good case of helplessness and hopelessness coming on. Childhood cancer would devastate a family financially as well as physically and mentally. 

Thanks Loren. Valuable information. 

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