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Paint the town PINK!

Article provided courtesy of our content partners, Labrix Clinical Services.

pink_ribbonOctober is breast cancer awareness month and by now most of you have probably noticed a few more
pink posters, wrist bands and pink ribbons floating around than usual. Unfortunately, most of us don’t need to see
pink bumper stickers in traffic or pink shoes on our favorite running back to remind us of this
devastating disease, as its prevalence indicates that most people have known someone with such a
diagnosis. Last year, there were an estimated 230,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer in this
country and approximately 1 in 8 women in the United States are predicted to develop invasive breast
cancer in her lifetime. These numbers are even larger when we include the non­invasive diagnoses.

Awareness is certainly a good idea, but what can we DO about this epidemic? Much of the breast
cancer awareness campaign focuses on encouraging women to get regular screenings to identify
problems early but, as with most cancers, a proactive, preventative approach is best. Identifying risk
factors for breast cancer and guiding treatment to reduce these risks is key to true prevention.

Because estrogen is a proliferative hormone and causes tissue to grow, a woman’s lifetime exposure to
estrogens increases her risk of breast cancer, and this includes both endogenous and exogenous
sources. Progesterone is the hormone that balances this proliferation caused by the estrogens.
Progesterone promotes cellular differentiation and also promotes apoptosis (planned cell senescence)
which is anti­neoplastic. When there is a greater influence of estrogen in relation to progesterone or
estrogen dominance, there is a greater risk for breast cancer. A salivary hormone test identifies the
ratio of progesterone to estradiol (Pg/E2 ratio) in patients and identifies any need for hormone
balancing treatments that can work to prevent uncontrolled breast growth that can lead to cancer.

The Pg/E2 ratio involves estradiol (E2) because it is the most biologically active estrogen, however it is
only one of the three estrogens found in the human body. Estriol (E3) is much weaker than estradiol or
estrone (E1) and because it competes for receptor function with the more potent estrogens, it provides
protection against uncontrolled proliferation. Over 50 years ago it was discovered that estriol provided
protection against the development of mammary cancers. Though the production of estriol outside of
pregnancy is relatively minimal, there is much individual variation in the metabolism of the various
estrogens, resulting in varying individual amounts of estriol. By testing patients’ estrone, estradiol and
estriol levels with the Labrix Comprehensive Plus Panel, evaluation of an additional parameter of breast
cancer risk, the Estrogen Quotient (EQ), can be provided.

In addition to evaluating hormonal status and establishing optimal balance, assessing patients’ vitamin D levels is invaluable in the prevention of breast cancer. There are numerous studies relating vitamin D
deficiency to increased incidence of breast cancer including one that boldly stated that doses of 3500
iu/day of vitamin D3 would reduce breast cancer risk by 50%! The Labrix BloodDrop Vitamin D test is a
simple, convenient and accurate test that utilizes a finger stick collection of blood, performed in office
or at home, and provides important information regarding individual status of this cancer protective

1. Garland CF. Serum 25­hydroxyvitamin D and prevention of breast cancer: pooled analysis.
Anticancer Res. 2011 Sep;31(9):2939­48.
2. Lee, John MD. What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause. New York: Warner Books,
1996. Print.
3. Lemon HM. Estriol prevention of mammary carcinoma induced by 7,12­dimethylbenzanthracene
and procarbazine. Cancer Res. 1975;35: 1341­53.
4. (accessed 10/7/2013)

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