WHAT YOUR DOCTOR MAY NOT TELL YOU ABOUT BREAST CANCER
How Hormone Balance Can Help Save Your Life
By John R. Lee, M.D., David Zava Ph.D., and Virginia Hopkins
Your risk of surviving malignant breast cancer is just about the
same as it was 50 years ago when the only treatment was mastectomy: about one
in three. In other words, in spite of billions of dollars in research, and
hugely expensive and risky treatments, the conventional medical approach to
breast cancer isn’t working, and talk of prevention is virtually
Our focus in this book is on what causes breast cancer, and how to
help prevent it. We believe that the prevention strategies are useful both for
helping to prevent breast cancer altogether, and also for helping to prevent a
recurrence in women who have already had breast cancer. We’ll start by
exploring the politics of the breast cancer industry, and what we do
know in a general way about what causes cancer, otherwise known as
We wrote this book because it’s time for conventional medical
doctors to admit that breast cancer treatments aren’t working, and to have
the courage to step forward and try new approaches. It’s time for them to
stop getting their medical education from drug company reps and journals funded
by drug companies; to start revisiting their biochemistry textbooks; to spend
regular time on Medline keeping up with current research; and to at least be
open to discussing and exploring alternative methods of treatment with their
patients who want to choose that path. It’s time for physicians to work in
cooperation with alternative health care professionals (and vice versa), and
for both types of healer to take advantage of the strengths and skills of the
It’s time for oncologists look beyond radiation and
chemotherapy, and for research facilities to take risks, think outside the
dots, and make healing more important than the financial bottom line. It’s
time for those giving the money to find scientists and physicians who
will work outside of the influences of drug companies, because the majority of
current breast cancer research is about making money selling drugs, and that is
not where the cure for breast cancer lies.
It’s also time for women to become aware that conventional
medical cancer treatments aren’t working, and to avoid slipping passively
into the cancer industry machinery, only to be spit out at the other end,
permanently damaged and still with no reasonable assurance of survival. Women
with breast cancer need to be supported in demanding their right to be fully
informed about the treatments they receive, and to be able to refuse treatment
if they – through education or intuition – feel it’s wrong for
them, without being “disowned” by the medical system.
And, it’s long past time for the media to stop blindly
spouting press releases from big drug companies touting new “cures”
for breast cancer which are poorly researched and do more harm than good in the
end. It’s long past time for journalists to have the integrity to do
independent research, and to check out obviously biased information to see if
it’s accurate and truthful.
By the time you finish the chapters on the nature of cancer and
breast cancer, you’ll understand why breast cancer is rarely caused by one
single factor or event, and likewise why there is no one drug that will turn it
off. We do have a mountain of good research showing that an excess of the
female hormone estrogen in one form or another is a central condition in the
cause of breast cancer, and that avoiding excess estrogen can prevent breast
cancer, and we’ll explain that to you in plain English. Dr. Lee has coined
the term “estrogen dominance” to describe this condition.
Having said this about estrogen, we want to say right up front
that we’re not “bashing” estrogens. They are essential for
health, and the protective hormone, progesterone, doesn’t work without
some estrogen accompanying it. Estrogens do not cause breast cancer by
themselves – our complex biochemistry always operates in an inter-related,
We will explain how, when estrogens go down the wrong metabolic
pathways in your body, they can damage your DNA and cause cancer. We will
explain what causes this to happen, and give you many down-to-earth,
commonsense, easy-to-implement, low cost options for stopping this damage in
its tracks. And don’t worry; we’re not just going to scare you about
breast cancer and sign off, we’re going to give you real solutions for
Although we would dearly love to see more large, double-blind,
placebo-controlled studies proving our points, this book is very
well-referenced and backed up by science and by the experience of many
clinicians who have patients with breast cancer. You can find references
divided by chapter at the end of the book. Every month that goes by, another
major study is published that supports the premises of this book, so it’s
helpful to keep up with the current research if you have breast cancer. (The
Resources section at the end of the book will give you ways to do this.)
A good portion of this book will focus on the conditions under
which estrogens can cause cancer, and how progesterone can help you prevent it,
but we don’t want you to skip over all the diet and exercise advice and go
straight to the progesterone as if it is a cure-all. It’s an amazing
substance, but it’s not a magic pill; it’s one chemical among
thousands in your body.
Estrogen, although pretty much cast as the villain in this story,
is just as necessary to life and health in a woman as progesterone is. It just
so happens that our reliance on petrochemical (petroleum oil-based) products
has created a world that is awash in an excess of environmental or
“exogenous” estrogen, from the air you breathe to the food you eat,
and the furniture you sit on. Progesterone is what opposes, or balances
estrogen in your body, and thus it gets to play the role of the hero.
Inherently, neither of these substances are good or bad, they’re just part
of the complex orchestra of biochemistry that keeps your body going.
Balancing your estrogen and progesterone levels is not even a
cure-all – especially if you’re still spraying your roses with
pesticides, microwaving your food in plastic wrap, bingeing on French fries and
snack chips, and regularly stressing yourself out to the point of exhaustion.
If that describes you, you need to take better care of yourself and change your
lifestyle, starting now. We will provide you with information on how to do
this. The good news is that in the process of taking steps to prevent breast
cancer, you’ll also be preventing other types of cancer, heart disease,
stroke, diabetes, arthritis, allergies, and many other chronic diseases.
The information in this book about hormones and cancer is very
controversial, and you’ll clearly understand why within the first few
chapters. Women can opt for alternative treatments to radiation, chemotherapy
and tamoxifen, but should be prepared to take these treatments very seriously,
to make dramatic lifestyle changes, and to devote a lot of time and energy to
maintaining these changes. Treating any kind of cancer is a life-and-death
battle that demands focused attention and the willingness to change the
conditions that created the disease in the first place.
There’s a bizarre, almost surreal refusal in American
medicine to admit that we pretty much know what causes cancer and how to
prevent it. Cancer specialists, called oncologists, continue to “slash,
poison and burn” (as breast surgeon and author Susan Love, M.D. so aptly
coined surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatments for breast cancer), even
though they know that, in the end, the treatments are unlikely to make much
positive difference in the lives of their patients.
Perhaps this blindness has to do with the fact that a physician
can lose his or her medical license by deviating from the so-called
“standard of care” in medicine. This is particularly true in the area
of cancer. Physicians who try unapproved treatments for cancer face swift and
decisive action from local medical boards, and are labeled “quacks”
by their colleagues.
Other than the possibility of healing a patient facing expensive
and harmful medical treatments, there’s no advantage or benefit for a
physician to go outside the established norms in treating cancer of any kind.
In fact, punishment is severe and could mean lawsuits, the permanent loss of a
job and/or a license. No wonder physicians are afraid of new approaches to
healing cancer. There is legislation pending in California giving patients and
doctors the legal right to try “alternative” approaches to treating
cancer. Isn’t is a little frightening that in the United States of America
we have to fight the medical establishment by making laws that give us the
freedom to get the medical treatment we feel is best for us? Shouldn’t
that automatically be our right in a democracy?
Women who opt not to have radiation and chemotherapy to treat
their breast cancer will often face intense resistance from their medical
community, who will tell them that if they don’t do what the doctor tells
them to, they will die. Knowing what we do about how powerful the mind-body
connection is, and how strong the power of suggestion is (especially coming
from a physician) this type of mistreatment should be considered malpractice.
There’s no excuse for that kind of behavior coming from any health care
professional. We have received many heart-breaking letters with that type of
story, and they only serve to underscore how desperately conventional medicine
needs to make fundamental changes in how patients are perceived and treated.
You will hear more about this throughout the book.
We are also frequently told of doctors who threaten to
“disown” women who don’t do as they say. Dr. Lee had a call from
a woman who just wanted a lumpectomy, but her doctor told her that if she
didn’t also agree ahead of time to chemotherapy and radiation that he
wouldn’t do the surgery and would no longer be her doctor. Again, this
type of behavior is inexcusable, and is a testimonial to how far conventional
medicine has drifted from being a healing profession. We’ll talk later
about why many physicians behave this way, and we hope that it will make it
easier to work with your doctor. Breast cancer is scary, and the
prospect of losing the support of one’s doctor can make it even scarier.
This book is about the prevention and treatment of breast cancer.
It is not about conventional medical treatments for breast cancer such as
radiation and chemotherapy. (We will cover the topic of tamoxifen.) It will not
contain an in-depth look at all the various types of breast cancer, their
multiple diagnostic stages, and the considerable controversy and variety of
treatment approaches that surrounds each one. Conventional medicine is already
in a state of confusion and disagreement about these subjects, and there’s
no reason to add anything to the discussion except to say that the approach is
definitely not working, and there is no cohesive or unified theory of breast
cancer at this time.
Dr. Lee often says in his talks that doctors seem to think that
M.D. stands for “Minor Deity,” and the usual audience response is
loud applause. Patients are to do as they are told and not question the
physician’s decision. If a woman follows the doctor’s orders and then
complains that she doesn’t feel well as a result, she is made to feel as
if it is her fault, or that it’s all in her head, and she gets a
prescription for a sedative or an antidepressant.
Women are rebelling against this kind of treatment. Their
mothers were told that DDT and DES were safe, and that valium was not
addictive. They watched as their older female relatives died of endometrial
cancer in the 1960s because they were given unopposed estrogen – promised
as the fountain of youth. New studies are coming out every day showing that
conventional hormone replacement therapy (HRT), despite earlier promises and
assurances, does increase your risk of developing breast cancer and does
not help with heart disease. Women aren’t dumping tea into Boston
harbor, they’re dumping their HRT down the toilet!
It’s essential that if you have breast cancer, you work with
a health care professional who listens and genuinely cares. This is much more
challenging and time-consuming than passively accepting whatever comes along,
but the long-term rewards are clearly better health and a longer life!
Once you’ve read the first two chapters of this book,
you’ll understand why your doctor is unlikely to understand or appreciate
the information we’re going to give you about breast cancer, and why we
want you to have compassion and understanding for the difficult position
physicians are in these days. If he or she at least has an open mind, you are
blessed. Hang in there and offer him or her a copy of this book! If every woman
who read this book gave a copy to her physician, HRT and breast cancer
treatments would shift dramatically within a few years. What we’re
proposing here is not the least bit radical, unreasonable or complex, although
it is radical in its simplicity and in its appeal to common sense. What we are
proposing is simply outside of the paradigm of conventional medicine.
We’ve never met a physician who wasn’t grateful and relieved to be
practicing medicine with these concepts, which get back to some very solid
medical basics and create much happier, healthier patients.
We would much prefer that women work with their
health care professionals, in cooperation, mutual respect, and trust. It can be
very difficult and daunting to hold your ground when you’re faced with an
impatient, irritated physician in a white coat who is waiting to see the next
patient – but a life-threatening disease is even more daunting. Think of
it this way: every time you stand your ground and insist on your right to have
your doctor listen to what you’re saying, or on your right to try
something different with his or her support, the after-effect could be
that you’re helping yourself and thousands of other women who come
after you, including your sisters, daughters and great-granddaughters. The
ripple effect of just one individual act of courage can last for generations.