What causes breast cancer? There are actually several causes and some of them might be surprising. When considering different supplements like dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) you should consider any side-effects that you might experience. That includes a possible link between DHEA and breast cancer. You might have heard that taking over-the-counter (OTC) products of the product leads to cancer. However, as always, it’s important to separate fact from fiction. For example, are there any/many studies that connect the supplement with cancer? This is a big question since it could affect whether or not you take supplements with the particular hormone.
It’s important to take steps to avoid the risk of breast cancer. Research shows that about one-quarter of the world’s female cancer patients have breast cancer. Treatment is important if a woman has been diagnosed with a serious disease. However, it’s also important to avoid all factors that could cause the disease like dietary supplements. This highlights the need to know the facts about different supplements like DHEA. Learning the facts will help to determine whether or not it’s linked to cancer and how you can minimize your cancer risk. In fact, there are times you should avoid DHA like if you already have cancer and some other situations.
What in the World Is DHEA?
The official name is dehydroepiandrosterone but it’s easier to remember DHEA. This hormone is available in dietary supplements. They’re used for different functions like boosting sex drive, building lean muscle mass, treating health conditions, and fighting to age.
The problem is there’s limited scientific proof that DHEA can be used effectively for these purposes. There are other issues including possible health risks of taking DHEA supplements. So, it’s important to know how to take the supplement safely to avoid possible issues.
Fun Fact: The body’s glands produce the hormone DHEA naturally. The kidneys are located a little under these glands. Meanwhile, the supplements can be produced from ingredients like soy and wild yam.
What does DHEA do? Scientists aren’t 100%. However, what they do know is the hormone turns into sex hormones among men and women. That includes the male hormone testosterone and the female hormone estrogen.
Adult bodies produce the most DHEA while they’re about 25 years old or so. However, DHEA production usually drops as people age. One of the top benefits of DHEA is the ability to boost levels of sex hormones.
People sometimes take DHEA supplements in order to treat various health conditions. For example, there’s some evidence it might help to treat depression. However, more studies are required. There are mixed results about whether DHEA can help treat:
- Bone density (low)
- Heart disease
- Chronic Fatigue
- Cancer (cervical)
Before taking DHEA for any of these conditions you should talk to your doctor first. He/She can provide advice about whether or not it’s a good option.
Another popular use of DHEA is as an anti-aging supplement. This is due to people’s hormone levels decreasing as they age. The supplement is used to battle natural aging. In fact, some studies show that the hormone might help with this goal. However, other studies show no effects on aging.
Are DHEA and Breast Cancer Linked?
Some recent studies show that having high levels of testosterone/estrogen might increase a woman’s chance of getting breast cancer. However, you might be wondering if there’s a connection between DHEA supplements and this type of cancer.
A recent study showed that an increase in sex hormones boosted the risk of breast cancer by 16%. The study included Harvard Medical School. The study included women who completed their menstrual cycle. In fact, the highest levels of DHA were linked to 200% spikes in the risk of breast cancer.
The study shows that it’s important for cancer patients and those with a high risk of cancer to avoid DHEA. The reason is the higher hormone levels could boost your chances of getting breast cancer. That’s likely a situation you’ll want to avoid.
If you have breast cancer you should certainly avoid DHEA supplements based on some studies. However, it might help to treat cervical cancer. DHEA supplements might be effective in preventing cancer cells of the cervix to spread. This can help to prevent cancer cells/tumors from moving to other body parts. That’s certainly critical in order to maintain good health.
However, not all effects of taking DHEA supplements are positive. In fact, studies show that you might increase your risk of certain cancers. They include cancer of the breast, liver, prostate, and ovaries. More research is needed. However, it’s critical to minimize your risk of all cancers.
It’s also important to note that taking DHEA capsules can also cause other risks including:
- Thyroid problems
- Immune system problems
- Heart disease
- Joint pain
- Sleep disorders
- Urinary tract infections (UTI)
- Bleeding problems
- Lower good cholesterol
- Diabetes 9higher blood sugar)
This doesn’t mean that there’s a 100% chance you’ll experience these conditions if you take DHEA supplements. However, studies show that it could boost your risk. That’s certainly a situation you won’t want to be in.
Tips for Avoiding Breast Cancer
Make sure you’re staying physically active during the week. This is important because it’s good for your lungs, heart, muscles, etc. It can also boost your immune system so your body can fight cancer cells better.
Try to do moderate exercise for at least 2.5 hours per week. If you can do more it’s better. Make sure you’re doing cardio and strength training in order to get the best results. Even when you’re busy try to do some light exercise every day like walking for 30 minutes.
Limit alcohol and quit smoking
Both of these steps can help to reduce your risk of cancer. The main exception is drinking one glass of red wine per day. This can provide various health benefits for heart health, good cholesterol, blood sugar, etc.
Avoid air pollution and radiation
You should try to avoid all types of environmental pollution including air pollution. Unfortunately, there are times when it’s tough to limit your exposure. However, try to do it as much as possible. This can help to minimize your risk of getting cancer.
You should also reduce your exposure to radiation. You might be required to work with radiation are your workplace, for example. If so, make sure you’re taking precautions to keep you as safe as possible. You can also be exposed to radiation from various imaging methods so it’s something to watch out for.
Limit hormone therapy
Just as DHEA could boost your risk of breast cancer it’s critical to reduce your dosage/duration when on hormone therapy. If you have the therapy for up to 5 years this boosts your chance of developing breast cancer.
It’s important to ask your doctor if there are other options besides hormone therapy. If you’re going to use it then you should only undergo short-term hormone therapy. This can help to reduce the risk of DHEA and breast cancer.