Estrogen is the primary female hormone that triggers the development of female reproductive system and secondary sex characteristics. From puberty to menopause, woman's body has been exposed to reasonably high levels of estrogen. Studies showed that women who got their first period before the age of 12 or reached menopause after the age of 55, are at a higher risk of developing breast, ovarian and uterine cancer at a later stage in their life. Why late menopause increases the risk for various cancers?
Estrogen and Estrogen Receptor Cells in Women's Body
Estrogen is a steroid sex hormone produced in both female and male body. For an obvious reason, women generally have more estrogen in their body than men. As a steroid, estrogen helps regulate metabolism, inflammation, immune system and the development of secondary sex characteristics such as breasts, hips and the body hair. Estrogen is also known to help balance the salt and water content in the body.
The cells of some organs in women's body are very responsive to the presence of estrogen such as estrogen receptor breast cells and estrogen receptor ovarian cells. Estrogen can trigger the uncontrollable growth of estrogen receptor cells and turn them to estrogen receptor cancer cells. However, not all breast and ovarian cancers are triggered by estrogen.
Late Menopause Increases The Risk for Cancer
A study by University of Edinburgh showed that the risk for breast cancer is higher for women who still menstruate at the age of 50 and significantly lower for women who have reached menopause before the age of 45.
The longer exposure to high levels of estrogen increases the probability of estrogen receptor cells in women's body to become cancer cells. Post-menopausal women who undergo Hormone Replacement Therapy have a higher risk of breast cancer too. The longer HRT is used, the higher the risk for cancer. Can it be that with age, the women's body is less able to handle high levels of estrogen?
How To Reduce The Risk of Having Cancer
The risk of having cancer is certainly higher with age both for women who have reached and not yet reached menopause. Just like with men, women can reduce the risk of having cancer by:
1. Reducing the sugar and refined carbohydrate intake
Sugar and refined carbohydrates are known to trigger inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation has been associated with the development of many diseases including cancer.
A clinical study in France involving 101,257 participants with the mean age of 42.2 years over a 8 year period (2009-2017) showed that the regular consumption of sugary and artificially sweetened drinks and beverages including 100% fruit juices (with no added sugar) significantly increased the risk of having cancer.
Personally, I believe that canned or bottled fruit juices including those without added sugar have high sugary contents that could have negative health effects. The bottled or canned fruit juices contain less or even no antioxidants and other therapeutic phytochemicals commonly found in fresh fruits and vegetables.
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2. Eating more fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables contains a lot of fibres and antioxidants that help protect the body from free radical and DNA damage. DNA damage can lead to the development of cancer.
One of my favourite fruits is red grapes. The skin of red grapes contain resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammation that has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer and slow down the ageing process. For those who want to slow down the signs of ageing in the skin, apply Bio-Collagen Serum to freshly-cleansed face and neck every morning and evening. Formulated with resveratrol, ferulic acid and coenzyme Q10, this award-winning anti-ageing serum has been infused with 24-karat nano gold particles to deliver the active ingredients, nutrients and oxygen to the deeper layers of the skin. A powerful yet gentle ultra-firming formula to rejuvenate the skin from within.
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3. Cutting down on red meats
The clinical data from 3,486 people indicated that the regular consumption of red meats significantly increases the risk of having colon cancer. If you can't cut down on red meats, try to eat boiled or stewed rather than fried, grilled or barbecued meats. Pan-frying, grilling and barbecuing have been shown to generate more carcinogenic substances.
Post-menopausal women can also lower the risk of having cancer by eating turmeric. Studies suggest that turmeric helps prevent the development of cancer cells in the body.
4. Adopting a healthy lifestyle
Stress can have significant effects on our health and wellbeing. With age, our body is less capable of handling stress. Stress itself does not trigger cancer, however, it can weaken the body's immune system. A weak immune system increases the risk of developing chronic inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation has been associated with various diseases including cancer.
Managing a healthy lifestyle by doing moderate exercise, getting enough sleep and rest and having a positive mindset, can help boost immune system. People with a healthy immune system are less likely to have cancer. Last but not least, women who reached menopause after the age of 55 years should not worry too much about cancer. Focus more on having a healthy lifestyle and diet. After all, a healthy mind and body provides the best protection against cancer.
Henry Tianus is a multi-award-winning Anti-Ageing Scientist based in London, UK. Henry Tianus has been listed as The Recognised Institute Practitioner at The Institute of Traditional Herbal Medicine and Aromatherapy (ITHMA), London (UK) since 2005. Henry Tianus's articles have been read by people in more than 100 countries with US, UK amd Canada at the top of the list. Join Henry Tianus eNewsletter to receive the latest health and wellbeing tips.
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Menopause doesn't increase the risk for cancer. Studies suggest that the long exposure to estrogen prior to menopause increases the risk of various cancers. Women who experienced menopause after the age of 55 or began menstruating before the age of 12 are both at a higher risk of having ovarian, breast and uterine cancer.
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How Digital Devices May Affect Our Health and Wellbeing
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Scientific Sources: A comparative study of pre- and post-menopausal breast cancer: Risk factors, presentation, characteristics and management, Journal of Research in Pharmacy Practice, 2014 Jan-Mar, 3(1): 12-18; The menopause and breast cancer, Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 1987, 41, 94-100; Association of fried food consumption with all cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality: prospective cohort study, BMJ, 2019, 364, k5420; Sugary drink consumption and risk of cancer: results from NutriNet-Santé prospective cohort, BMJ 2019, 366: l2408; Meat intake, cooking methods, dietary carcinogens, and colorectal cancer risk: findings from the Colorectal Cancer Family Registry, Cancer Medicine, 2015 Jun: 4(6): 936-952.