Dr RunlesCharles Runels, MD  

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Testosteron & Breast Cancer

Please help Me with the Myth

Another one of my patients was told that testosterone is dangerous to the breast. I'm open to being taught, but I didn't want her to be ignorant about why I think testosterone protects the breast (and by the way, why I think that I've never-as far as I know--ever had a patient either get breast cancer or have a previous breast cancer revisit).

I know that I cannot guarantee that a survivor of breast cancer will be cured forever, but here's a few reasons why I think one should at least consider using testosterone even if there has been a previous breast cancer (and why I think I have a much lower than average incidence in my practice):

1. Testosterone Not Associated with Increased Risk of Breast Cancer

Menopause Int. 2008 Sep;14(3):117-22.

Testosterone and the breast.
Shufelt CL, Braunstein GD.
Department of Medicine, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA 90048, USA.
Although women have been treated with testosterone (T) for female sexual dysfunction since the 1950s, the role of T in normal female physiology is not yet fully defined. One of the major safety concerns of androgen therapy is whether androgens have a stimulatory effect on the breast that could lead to breast carcinomas. The proposed mechanisms for such stimulation include local estrogen production from the aromatase enzyme complex present in the breast tissue or by the direct stimulation of the androgen receptor. Predominant data from in vitro studies have shown that androgens actually have apoptotic and antiproliferative effects and not stimulatory effects. Animal models have shown similar results to in vitro studies, finding that androgens inhibit breast cancer growth. Prospective and retrospective epidemiological analyses have shown mixed outcomes, with no clear consensus regarding androgen use and breast cancer risk. Hyperandrogenism in patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome with elevated levels of endogenous T is not associated with an increased risk of breast cancer and may, in fact, be protective. Another human model with excess of T is female-to-male transgenderism, in which genotypic women are treated with large doses of exogenous T with no increased risk. High-dose androgen therapy also has been effective in treating patients with advanced breast cancer. Thus, the preponderance of data suggests that T use in females is not
associated with an increased risk of breast carcinoma.

2. Transexuals and female atheletes show ATROPHY of epithelial mammary tissue. Demetakikis, C Menopause, Vol 10 No. 4 2003 "A Physiologic Role for Testosterone in Limiting estrogen stimulation of the Breast."

In other words, if you give high doses of testosterone to women (very high doses) they do not get an increased risk of breast cancer, they get shrinkage of the breast.

3. Testosterone kills breast cancer cells in rats and in monkeys.

4. Women with less androgen receptors do not live as long (on average) as those with androgen receptors.

In other words, breasts that are more sensitive to testosterone are associated with longer life.

I could go on and on about how testosterone helps protect the heart, helps your brain work better, and helps you have better sex (more orgasms and more frequent orgasms), but for now--I'll just stop here and leave you with the idea that testosterone helps protect your breast from cancer.

Peace & Health,


Charles Runels, MD

(The Temple Repairman)

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