Women’s Health

Doc Talk excerpt
Recently, I was asked a question about a mammogram report, and I gave an incorrect response based on older data. Since then, I have learned that recent studies suggest that increased breast density on mammograms may carry a slightly increased risk for developing breast cancer.

Digital mammography (used by many local radiology groups) uses a computer to help analyze mammographic X-rays. This technology has been helpful in evaluating subtle changes and is valuable in early cancer detection.

Current data also suggests that the risk of worsening heart and vascular disease in women is related to the time at which women begin hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

Women beginning HRT near menopause, or at least before the age of sixty, probably decrease their risk for cardiovascular disease. This may even be true for women using conventional hormones, though we suspect the most heart-healthy hormones are the natural, bio-identical hormones, which we have been using here since the early 1990s. And recall that all estrogens appear to decrease a woman?s risk for developing Alzheimer?s dementia, colon cancer, and, of course, osteoporosis.

Women taking DHEA and/or testosterone, who still have their uterus, and are not also taking therapeutic doses (at least 50 to 100 mg/day), of progesterone need to discuss the options in monitoring the health of their endometriums with us. Since these androgens (male-like hormones) can metabolize into estrogen, (which can stimulate precancerous changes if not balanced by progesterone), we need to review how this may apply to each of you individually.

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