Want to learn more about menopause, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), estrogen, and breast cancer risk?
Why not sit down, pop in some headphones, and listen to this podcast from our partners at Gennev. Jill Angelo, CEO and founder of Gennev, discusses these topics with Dr. Arvum Bluming, Dr. Rebecca Dunsmoor-Su, and Mirakind’s own Dr. Joanne Weidhaas!
Want a quick recap of what’s covered in the podcast? Read below! Or, if you just want to go ahead and give the episode a listen, check it out here!
We first start with with meeting the guests of the podcast:
- Dr. Avrum Bluming is a breast cancer oncologist and co-author of Estrogen Matters: Why taking hormones in menopause can improve women’s well-being and lengthen their lives – without the risk of breast cancer.
- Dr. Joanne Weidhaas is a radiation oncologist and founder of MiraDx and MiraKind. She co-discovered a genetic biomarker, called the KRAS-variant, which has multiple implications for cancer risk and response to hormone replacement therapy.
- Dr. Rebecca Dunsmoor-Su is an OB/Gyn and Chief Medical Officer for Gennev. Her primary clinical focus now is in gynecology, and in particular menopause.
It’s clear to see the common thread here, all three experts share a passion for women’s health and are motivated to help women make the best decisions possible for their health.
Next, all three guests share their thoughts and expertise on Estrogen Replacement Therapy and perceived risk of breast cancer.
Dr. Bluming explains that after he learned about the problems with the Women’s Health Initiative study that originally published their findings on HRT and increased breast cancer risk, he and Dr. Carol Tarvis wrote their book, Estrogen Matters, which not only explains the shortcomings and inaccuracies of that study, but goes on to highlight research that shows that HRT actually has numerous benefits for the overall health and quality of life of menopausal women.
Dr. Weidhaas shares how her research on the KRAS-variant really demonstrates how the decision to use Estrogen during menopause should be evaluated for each patient. Her research indicates that women with the KRAS-variant have a lower risk of cancer when they’re given estrogen during menopause. However, because these patients may have a family history of cancer, they are often advised against HRT due to the misconception that HRT increases breast cancer risk. She emphasizes that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all way to treat menopausal women, and that family history is not a reason to avoid estrogen.
Dr. Dunsmoor-Su reiterates Dr. Weidhaas’s sentiments on avoiding treating all menopausal patients the same when it comes to considering estrogen therapy. She said she works with each patient to carefully balance the patient’s needs and their personal risks and benefits of receiving HRT during menopause. She also points out that she’s an advocate for going through your doctor to receive treatment, rather than trying natural hormonal remedies, where the dosing may not be precise and as easily adjustable.
The guests continue their discussion and talk about screening and testing with regards to breast cancer. Dr. Bluming points out that rates of breast cancer are increasing due to increased and better screening, but with this comes earlier and less radical treatments. Therefore, some types of breast cancer now have a very high cure rate. Dr. Weidhaas, when asked if every woman should be tested for the KRAS-variant, emphasizes one of the tenets that MiraKind is built off of – that knowledge is power. A patient’s KRAS status is just another piece of information that can be used, in conjunction with their medical history, to help them make the best health decision along with the help of their OB/Gyn.
Dr. Weidhaas goes on to share how to get tested for the KRAS-variant – more information can be found on our website here!
In conclusion, the three guests share their Key Takeaways with regards to menopause, HRT, estrogen, and breast cancer risk:
- Consider getting screened for the KRAS-variant
- Read Estrogen Matters
- Sit down and have a conversation with your OB/GYN – reach out to Gennev if you need access to a telehealth physician.
- Know your own breasts – self exams can be helpful to identify if your breasts feel or look different from how you’re used to them appearing or feeling. Talk to your doctor if you notice differences.
- Read up and educate yourself on different viewpoints and balanced opinions from trusted sources
- Don’t be afraid of the screening/testing and having a conversation with your doctor about cancer risk – remember Knowledge is Power!