Research now suggests that excess estrogen may be culprit in causing prostate cancer in men.
At Boston Testosterone Partners, we are one of the few Age Management Clinics that erases Low Testosterone, stimulates natural testosterone production, while at the same time, modulates every patient’s estrogen level into the preferred low area of the reference range. No other clinic in New England offers that type of Testosterone Replacement Therapy. So why do we place so much importance on making sure every one of our patients lower estrogens and maintains natural testosterone production as well?
Liike women, men also make estrogens such as estradiol, although (usually) in much lower amounts than women.
Even the characteristically “male” hormone testosterone can be converted into estradiol via the hormone aromatase – which is found in higher concentrations in fat tissue.
While this process of testosterone-to-estrogen conversion is necessary for proper bone density and quality in men, for instance, it may also contribute to prostate growth and malignancy.
Fortunately, testosterone is also antagonist to estrogens like estradiol, which may explain why men with low testosterone are at greater risk of prostate cancer.
It may be, also, that men are being exposed to hidden sources of estrogen from the environment.
Estrogen-mimicking chemicals such as bisphenol-A, PFOA and phthalates are disturbingly widespread; as are soy foods that contain high levels of phytoestrogens, which are capable of mimicking estrogens and/or disrupting their cellular receptor sites.
Not only that, but a wide range of heavy metals have been identified to have powerfully estrogenic properties.
These “metalloestrogens,” as they are called, include aluminium, antimony, arsenite, barium, cadmium, chromium (Cr(II)), cobalt, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, selenite, and tin.
Recently, an interesting new theory has been proposed that suggests another route of estrogen exposure in men: water contaminated by women’s birth control pills. Could this be the culprit in the rising number of prostate cancer cases?
Drug Residues Common in Drinking Water
Many waterways in the United States contain residues of birth control pills, antidepressants, painkillers, and many other chemical compounds. This has been known for many years now.
Most of them enter water supplies from human and animal waste that enter rivers from sewage treatment plants, leach into groundwater from septic systems, or run off into groundwater. Even drugs thrown into the trash can wind up in your drinking water, as when it enters a landfill its contents can and do mingle with other trash and its surrounding environment, including water supplies.
The drug industry, while admitting that pharmaceuticals are clearly contaminating water supplies, maintains that the levels are too low to cause any harm. Yet, it’s known that drugs in waterways can harm fish and other aquatic species, and laboratory studies show human cells do not grow normally when exposed to even trace amounts of certain drugs.
Many drugs in the water supply are known to have dangerous side effects when taken in normal prescription doses, not to mention that some people are now exposed to traces of multiple drugs at one time, in addition to other harmful metals and chemicals in their water. Further, people are now being exposed to combinations of drugs that should never be combined, leading to unknown consequences.
Birth Control Pills in Water Supply Linked to Men’s Prostate Cancer
Using data from the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the United Nations World Contraceptive Use report, which spanned 100 countries, researchers analyzed rates of prostate cancer and prostate cancer deaths, as well as oral contraceptive use among women.
The report concluded that the areas with a high rate of oral contraceptive use also had a high rate of prostate cancer. In addition, the researchers speculated that higher environmental levels of estrogen — and by implication, higher cumulative estrogen exposures in men — may be to blame.
In the United States alone, over 82 percent of women aged 15-44 have used oral contraceptives, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Typically, hormonal birth control methods like The Pill work by releasing estrogen and progestin into a woman’s body, preventing her ovaries from releasing eggs.
While it’s argued that only a small amount of additional estrogen is excreted by a woman using this form of contraception, this “small amount” is compounded by millions of women, many of whom use the pill for long periods of time. Also, synthetic estrogen and progesterone (progestin) – being unnatural – does not biodegrade as rapidly and is far harder to remove through conventional water purification systems – resulting in greater accumulation in the environment.
While this latest study did not prove cause and effect — that is, it did not prove that environmental estrogen from women’s oral contraceptive use causes prostate cancer in men — it did find a significant association between the two that deserves further investigation, especially in light of estrogen’s well established role in a wide range of cancers.
Estrogen Already Proven to Cause Breast Cancer
The guidelines for preventing and treating prostate cancer are almost identical to those for treating breast cancer (more on those shortly), which is why it’s worth noting that causative factors — like estrogen — may also be similar. It is, in fact, already known that breast cancer is closely tied to estrogen exposure.
According to a study published online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, breast cancer rates for women dropped in tandem with decreased use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which exposed women to synthetic estrogen. In Canada, between 2002 and 2004 HRT use dropped by 7.8 percent. In fact, it was no coincidence that, during that same time, breast cancer rates also fell by 9.6 percent.
However, after remaining stable at around 5 percent between 2004 and 2006, breast cancer rates then began to rise again, even though HRT use remained lower. The researchers claim this is an indication that HRT simply speeds up tumor growth, as opposed to directly causing it.
It’s also important to consider that you are exposed to a large number of estrogen-like compounds daily, called xenoestrogens. Estrogen pollution is increasingly present all around you, from plastics to canned food and drinks, food additives, household cleaning products, and pesticides. And estrogen levels are rising in our waterways, not only as pollution from birth control use but as a result of the runoff from confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs).
So whether it’s a promoter or a causative factor (likely it’s both), there’s a wealth of evidence supporting excess estrogen exposure as a risk factor for cancer.
By Dr. Mercola