Thelma Jones, MD - Options for Wellness



A Simple Urine Test Can Measure Your Risk for Breast Cancer

by Thelma Jones, MD with Lorraine Phillips (Writer)

Breast cancer are words that set most women off to shivering in their boots. It seems so
arbitrary. You do not need a family history. You may eat well and exercise. You may
seem to do all the right things. And, yet breast cancer seems to strike indiscriminately. If
only there were a way to know…

One of the most common breast cancers is driven by hormones, most specifically:
estrogen. A hormone panel blood test can tell the amount of estrogen in your blood
stream. This can be useful information, but it does not reveal the whole picture when
evaluating risk for this cancer.

A urine test, on the other hand, measures estrogen after it is metabolized by your body
(metabolites). Everyone is different, therefore everyone metabolized estrogen differently.
These metabolized estrogens can give you a better picture of your potential risk. With
this knowledge you can take steps to avoid the onset of breast cancer by making lifestyle

The “…researchers at Rockefeller University have found that the body metabolizes
estrogens into several different metabolites that can impact cancer development...
• One metabolite, 2-hydroxyestrone (2-OHE1), tends to inhibit cancer growth.
• Another, 16-a-hydroxyestrone (16-a-OHE1), actually encourages tumor development.

“A woman’s "biochemical individuality" determines which of these metabolites
predominates. Studies have shown that measuring the ratio of these two metabolites
provides an important indication of risk for future development of estrogensensitive

2-hydroxyestrone acts as an antioxidant by “gobbling up” free radicals that tag onto
normal cells and cause them to mutate into cancer. 2-hydroxyestrone encourages healthy
cell growth and the reproduction of normal cells. 2-hydroxyestrone aids in fat metabolism
and therefore aids in healthy weight maintenance, maintaining a healthy weight reduces
cancer risk. 2-hydroxyestrone may prevent cancer. It is the good-guy metabolite.

16-a-hydroxyestrone, on the other hand, causes abnormal cell development. 16-ahydroxyestrone can damage DNA. 16-a-hydroxyestrone can cause cancer. It is the badguy metabolite.

It is important that the ratio of good-guy to bad-guy or 2 hydroxyestrone to16
hydroxyestrone be above two, that is, there should be twice as much 2 than 16 in the
sample. Studies show that women who have 2/16 ratios below two have a much higher
rate of breast cancer. Low 2/16 ratios also indicate increased long-term risk for other
estrogen-sensitive cancers, including uterine, ovarian, cervical and even head and neck
cancers. A simple urine test can determine the ratio in you.

Once the risk is determined, there are lifestyle changes that can affect the metabolism of
estrogens and therefore raise the 2/16 ratio:

• Consume more foods containing indole-3-carbinol (I3C) found in cruciferous
vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage or brussel sprouts. It is wise to
choose organic vegetables to insure that pesticides, which are very carcinogenic,
do not sabotage efforts to improve health. Supplements containing DIM
(concentrated cruciferous vegetables) have been shown to raise the 2/16 ratio.

• Supplement your diet with Omega-3 found in non-contaminated fish and fish oils.
One has to be diligent in choosing products that contain fish oils because mercury,
PCB’s and other contaminants in fish can cause cancer.

• Consume organic flax seed, which contain lignans that may also reduce breast
cancer risk.

• A quality soy supplement (water processed) can be useful. It is generally believed
that 60mg of phytoestrogens per day are safe. However, there is controversy
regarding the use of soy supplements especially in women with established breast
cancer or those with a predisposition to breast cancer.

• Exercise has been established as useful.
Other ways to reduce estrogen-related cancers include supplementing your diet with:

• Calcium d-glucarate enables estrogens to remain bound in the intestine so that
they cannot re-circulate through the body.

• Also useful are d-Limonene and resveratrol.

• Add vitamin D supplement.

A note about supplements: not all supplements are created equal. It is important to have
the guidance of a knowledgeable provider when choosing specific supplement
manufacturers to insure that the product contains the proper dosage and meets standards
of purity.

Specialty labs under the order of a physician can measure 2/16 hydroxyestrogen. A
qualified physician or healthcare provider can best tailor a protocol for each individual’s
unique history and other risk factors. This urine test is a very important tool in the arsenal
that we now have to fight cancer, in addition there are many other approaches to assess
and attempt to reduce the risk of breast and other endocrine cancers.