Hormones determine a lot for the human body. They are the strongest of the agents that determine the quality of growth, digestion, immune systems, weight, moods and which diseases and conditions you may be prone to. Hormone metabolism is the way in which we process different hormones. In relation to cancer, we usually associate hormones only with cancers such as the breast and the ovarian cancers but altered hormonal metabolism of any hormone indirectly creates a favorable environment for cells to behave abnormally and lead to other types of cancers.
What’s the Link Between Hormones and Cancer?
Hormonal metabolism or the functioning of hormones can get adversely affected by medications, medical procedures, prolonged exposure to chemicals, toxins, obesity and inflammation. All of these are also associated with prolonged consumption of processed, fatty and sugary foods, non-organic foods that are also genetically modified, lack of exercise, lack of enough sleep and increasing levels of stress, working and/or living in areas where there are toxins.
Medications such as birth control pills may decrease the risk for endometrial and ovarian cancers because they use estrogen and progesterone to control fertility however they can cause other imbalances and increase the risk for cervical and breast cancers among certain patients. Most of us will also remember watching advertisements on TV for pharmaceutical drugs that have cancer as one of the many side effects that they mention in their long list of side effects. Such drugs contain certain chemicals and or compounds that are known to be carcinogens. Medical procedures including Hormone Replacement Therapy and radiation including excessive exposure to UV rays and X-rays can disrupt hormones and lead to cancer.
The American Cancer Society has published a list of known and probable carcinogens that contain everything from talcum powder, BPA to viruses, bacteria and several chemicals that are known to be carcinogens. What most of us miss to understand is that all these agents can lead to endocrine disruption and abnormal hormonal metabolism first and then cancer. Inflammation can be caused by chronic obesity and being overweight. It is however important to mention that there may be people who are not overweight and may even look lean but carry tremendous amount of visceral fat. This is very alarming and the perhaps the biggest cause of inflammation. There are many of us who could look fit and lean but suffer from chronic inflammation of some kind. It is more than likely that the lining of organs in such people has fat, which is called visceral fat. Inflammation thus causes weak hormonal functional and can lead to different forms of cancer in the long term.
Hormonal Balance and Cancer Prevention
Although it is essential to maintain hormonal balance, the way in which that is done promotes other conditions. Today’s conventional medicine relies heavily on prescribing large doses of medication for hormonal imbalances. Even if doctors always look at your blood reports to manage and alter your thyroid or other medications and hormone treatments such as replacement therapies, birth control pills, insulin injections, this is just a way to treat or mask symptoms and not address the real cause of hormone imbalance. During course of time, if one keeps taking such medications and treatments, the underlying cause is never addressed and this can lead to overuse or misuse of medications, strokes, anxiety, depression, fertility issues and even cancer.
There are multiple alternative methods that can be adopted to resolve causes of hormonal imbalance. These may be followed in addition to the regular medication in some cases. There have been patients who have completely gotten rid of prescription medications and replacement therapies by adopting holistic and natural ways that help improve hormone metabolism. Naturopathic treatment that involves taking certain herbs, superfoods, essential oils clubbed with the right type of diet, stress management techniques and exercise can go a long way in curing hormonal imbalance and preventing cancers.