Estrogen and the Risks of Breast Cancer, a Conversation with Dr. Avram Bluming

April 2, 2024

Breast cancer screening
Breast cancer screening

Not too long ago, I had the pleasure of having Dr. Avram Bluming,  as a guest on my podcast.  Dr. Bluming is a hematologist, medical oncologist, professor, and cancer researcher. In addition to treating women with breast cancer for four decades, Bluming was a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Southern California and a senior investigator for the US National Cancer Institute.

We discussed the intricate journey of women’s health, menopause stands as a pivotal, albeit often misunderstood, chapter. My conversation with this  seasoned medical professional sheds light on this transformative phase.  We  focused on his enlightening book, “Estrogen Matters,”  and our discussion delved into the nuances of menopause, offering hope and clarity for women navigating these turbulent waters.

Dr. Bluming’s journey into the realm of women’s health is both personal and professional. Specializing in breast cancer treatment, he has witnessed the evolution of care, which now boasts a 90% cure rate, a beacon of progress in oncology. However, it was the personal challenge of witnessing his wife endure the hardships of premature menopause that steered him toward a deeper exploration of its implications. This intimate encounter with menopause’s harsh realities—ranging from cognitive decline to a myriad of physical symptoms—ignited his quest for alternative solutions beyond the conventional medical playbook.

“Estrogen Matters” emerges from this quest, challenging prevailing myths and offering fresh perspectives on menopause. Dr. Bluming dispels the notion that menopausal symptoms are fleeting, highlighting their prolonged impact on women’s quality of life. More significantly, he sheds light on estrogen’s critical role not only in alleviating a wide array of menopausal symptoms but also in addressing long-term health risks that escalate post-menopause, such as heart disease, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Bluming’s insights on estrogen are particularly groundbreaking, asserting its efficacy in controlling menopausal symptoms for over 80% of women—a figure that towers over other treatments. This revelation is pivotal, especially in a medical landscape marred by misconceptions surrounding hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The conversation goes beyond the typical symptoms of hot flashes and night sweats, addressing estrogen’s broader implications for women’s health, including its potential to reduce osteoporotic hip fractures and mitigate cognitive decline linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

As an oncologist who has induced menopause in numerous patients, including those battling breast cancer, his perspective on estrogen and HRT is both unique and invaluable. He recalls presenting research on HRT post-breast cancer in 1997, a testament to his long-standing commitment to exploring estrogen’s benefits amidst prevailing skepticism. This blend of professional rigor and personal empathy makes “Estrogen Matters” not just a book but a beacon of hope for countless women.

As our conversation concluded, I was interested to hear  Dr. Bluming’s reflections on his journey from publishing research papers to authoring a book. His humility and dedication to scientific rigor underscore the importance of ongoing exploration and dialogue in understanding menopause and the transformative power of estrogen.

“Estrogen Matters” is more than a medical discourse; it’s a call to rethink menopause and the role of estrogen in women’s health. Dr. Avram Bluming’s insights offer a guiding light for women navigating menopause, encouraging them to explore treatment options that prioritize their long-term health and well-being. In the complex maze of menopause, Dr. Avram Bluming’s work stands as a testament to the power of informed, compassionate care.

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