Patricia Yarberry Allen, M.D. is a Gynecologist, Director of the New York Menopause Center, Clinical Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Weill Cornell Medical College, and Assistant Attending Obstetrician and Gynecologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She is a board certified fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Allen is also a member of the Faculty Advisory Board and the Women’s Health Director of The Weill Cornell Community Clinic (WCCC). Dr. Allen was the recipient of the 2014 American Medical Women’s Association Presidential Award.

Dr. Joseph Ragaz, a medical oncologist in the school of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver Canada made a big media splash today with the presentation of non-peer-reviewed data at the annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.  He presented a re-evaluation of data that was reviewed four years ago from the estrogen-only treatment arm of the WHI (Women’s Health Initiative). Dr. Ragaz reported that “The data show that for selected women estrogen is not only safe but potentially beneficial for breast cancer.”  He added, “Reduction of rates of breast cancer in the majority of women who are candidates for estrogen-based hormone replacement therapy is a new finding because estrogen was always linked with a higher incidence of breast cancer.”

This will certainly cause more confusion for patients. Estrogen alone can be given only to patients who have had the uterus surgically removed, since it is well known that without a progestin, estrogen promotes endometrial cancer. I assume that most women wouldn’t choose to have a hysterectomy in order to take estrogen.

Scientists and physicians will need to evaluate his  hypothesis that the estrogen made by the post menopausal woman from conversion of male hormone derived from the ovaries  is carcinogenic and that somehow giving these women estrogen systemically will decrease the risk of breast cancer.

Stay tuned.  No answers yet.

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  • Phillipp April 30, 2014 at 4:09 am

    Hi! I’ve been reading your website for a while now and
    finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Lubbock Texas!
    Just wanted to say keep up the excellent job!

  • Patricia Yarberry Allen October 4, 2011 at 8:04 am

    Dear Kathleen,

    Are you the gynecologist who practices in Arizona? Do let us know and we can have a personal conversation. In the meantime, there are many imperfections in the treatment of women with hormones. It has been well documented that unopposed estrogen given to women who have a uterus dramatically increases the risk of endometrial cancer. Many doctors prescribe natural micronized progesterone orally instead of provera and have done so for years. Do contact the FDA and ask them to remove provers. We need voices like yours to make a difference.

  • Kathleen Norman October 3, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    The estrogen only arm of the WHI study showed that estrogen in the form of premarin, (three of the thirteen estrogens in premarin are bioidentical to human estrogen), did NOT increase of these womens’ risk of breast cancer. Why do you go on about estrogen causing breast cancer when that is not true. In fact, it has been long known that medoxy progesterone acetate causes breast cancer and yet it is still approve for use and on countless formularies. This needs to stop now.