T.J. Hills

Breast Cancer and Your Estrogen Map

My breast cancer story began about 15 years ago. I was a very busy working mother. A stereotypical NYC Type A professional. I had 3 young children, my husband worked nonstop, and I had a financial consulting business where I worked about 40-60 hours a week.  

I got paid to be rigorous and methodical about data and research. It was a well-developed skill that I never once applied to myself. For the 18-24 months before my diagnosis; I was bleeding; irregularly.

I was gaining weight and I was becoming tired easily and sleeping more than I had ever in my life. I saw few OB/GYNs to try to get some help with the bleeding but basically, I ignored my health and did not take the time to get to the bottom of my symptoms. Ironically, a few weeks before I found a lump in my breast, when it was far too late, a doctor suggested that improving my estrogen health with Dim-Pro, a supplement I will talk about, might help with the bleeding.

The lump turned out to be Stage 3, aggressive estrogen/progesterone receptor positive cancer or what oncologists call “garden variety breast cancer”. I went into a state of shock. In 2009, just like more than 80% of all women diagnosed with breast cancer, I was the first person in my extended family to have any form of cancer. Why I had cancer was a complete mystery to me and my family. The odds I was given, back in 2009, before some of the individualized testing, like Oncotype, was widely in use, was a 30% chance of the cancer coming back within 5 years if I successfully completed surgery, chemo and radiation.

It seemed to me that to leave my children without a mother was a horrible thing to do. I was determined to improve those odds somehow starting with using my research skills. Luckily for me, when I was waiting for chemotherapy to start, I met an expert in nutrigenomics or modifiable genes called Dr. Veltmann. The very first thing he asked me was “Have you had any irregular bleeding?”  

My story, and my cancer was not a mystery to him. On the contrary, he was working with a large group of female military veterans all of whom had a similar story and a 30% chance of their cancer coming back within 5 years. None his patients had their cancer come back. That was a success that I wanted to learn more about.   He gave me an estrogen gene test which showed damage on every single gene. Genes like CYP1A1, CYP1B1, COMT, MnSOD, GSTP and others.

My body does not get rid of excess estrogen properly. That means it may not all exit in your urine or sweat and may recirculate in your body potentially becoming toxic. What are excess estrogens? It can be drugs that some of us take for decades. In the beginning it’s birth control pills, and at the end, it’s hormone replacement pills in a prescription pill or a cream or something you picked  up at Whole Foods.   Some women may take fertility medications ranging from clomid to a full in-vitro fertility cycle. 

And in America, we are surrounded by chemicals that mimic estrogen in our food, our water, our skin care, shampoos, cosmetics and especially on our lawns. Dr. Veltman prescribed simple remedies starting with a supplement called Dim-Pro which is essentially concentrated broccoli, Fish Oil and strong antioxidants like Vitamin C. That’s the regimen that I use to improve how I get rid of excess estrogen.

But I kept Thinking…
IF ONLY I had taken an Estrogen Gene test earlier and learned about my lifelong estrogen health, I might have made different choices about drugs like birth control pills, fertility treatments and hormone replacement.
IF ONLY I had had learned about Estrogen Genes earlier, I might have started the remedies to get rid of the excess estrogens and might have prevented my breast cancer or perhaps had a lesser cancer.
IF ONLY every woman everywhere could take this test and learn about her lifelong Estrogen Health as early as possible.

After I finished treatment, I applied my professional skills to my own cancer. Along with other options for after traditional cancer treatment I investigated estrogen metabolism genes and decided to improve my estrogen function in the hopes of improving my cancer odds. I learned a lot about estrogen along the way including that estrogen exposures are the primary risk factors risks for breast cancer.

I also learned that while I didn’t have any cancer history in my family, I discovered an extensive background of estrogen metabolism dysfunction. Endometriosis, fibroid tumors, ovarian cysts, infertility, polycystic ovarian syndrome, or acne so severe it required pharmaceutical intervention. Apart from the PCOS, I had every one of these conditions running rampant through my family.

I have been sharing my story for more than 10 years. I tell my story because hindsight is 20/20. I continue to believe that if I had stopped to listen to my body and I had sought help earlier, my garden variety breast cancer might have been a lesser one or maybe even have been prevented entirely. So, whether you are a breast cancer patient or one in remission or a family member or friend reading this,

I hope my story inspires you to take care of your health above any and all obligations. Don’t ignore an on-going medical issue and get yourself an estrogen gene test. A list of testing companies is at my website www.betterestrogen.com. Know your lifelong estrogen health, make healthier decisions and use the simple remedies to improve your estrogen health like dim-pro, fish oil and vitamin C. Take the same time and money and energy that you would spend on your children’s health and spend it on yourself.