Role of Hormones in Cancer Recurrence

Article excerpt

Few studies have looked at the link between sex hormones in the blood and cancer recurrence. Cheryl L. Rock, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of California in San Diego, reported that women whose breast cancer came back after treatment had almost twice as much estrogen in their blood than did women who remained cancer-free--despite treatment with anti-estrogen drugs in most of the women.

Their findings suggested that high levels of estrogen contributed to an increased risk of cancer recurrence, just as they lead to the initial development of breast cancer. Participants from this study were drawn from the larger Women's Healthy Eating and Living Study (WHEL), a dietary intervention trial that followed 3,088 women who had been treated for early-stage breast cancer but who were cancer-free when they enrolled.

Participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups. One group ate a normal healthy diet, and the other that ate extremely high amounts of fruits, fiber, and vegetables. The participants were observed for more than seven years. …

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