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Can DHEA be taken by a person with history of breast cancer?

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Posted on Thu, 31 Jul 2014
Question: Fifteen years ago, I was diagnosed with very early DCIS. It was so tiny, I was told most likely, I only needed surgery, to make sure my margins were clear, which they were. I go for my yearly mammograms, every year, and so far, thank God, they have been normal

My question is, regarding supplementation with DHEA. I have been retaining a great deal of water, and I have been under the care of a Cardilogist/Internist, who has been working to find the cause. He just gave me a Saliva test to check my Cortisol and DHEA levels. I have heard that if you have had a history of Breast Cancer, you should not take DHEA. I was wondering if this is true, in case. after my doctor gets my test results, and recommends my supplementing with DHEA.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Manisha Jain (1 hour later)
Brief Answer:
not recommended

Detailed Answer:
Hello mam, thanks for trusting health care magic.
Dhea is recommended in females aged more than 60 years because it gives a good raw material for production of estrogen which thus helps in combating the menopausal symptoms to some extent.
But its results in patients at risk of breast cancer are controversial.
Guidelines followed worldwide these days are to use DHEA only in patients with ER Negative (estrogen receptor negative) breast cancer.
But I don't think the tissue sent fifteen years back was tested for ER Receptor so in your case its best to avoid it at all times.
You can discuss this with your cardiologist so that he can put you on some alternative regimen.
In case needed I can provide him with reference of a standard textbook so that he is convinced with this statement.
Wish you all the best.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Manisha Jain (7 hours later)
Thank you very much, Dr. XXXXXXX Believe it or not, I called my Breast Surgeon, about 8 years ago, to find out whether my DCIS was ER positive, or negative. She said she checked into it, and found that it was both estrogen, and progesterone, positive. I don't know whether or not this is common, or not. However, I am not going to take a chance, and I intend to follow your advice, and not take DHEA, at all. If it turns out I am deficient in DHEA, which I probably am, I will ask him for an alternative supplement.

Thank you so much again.

Sincerely,
XXXXXXX Yedwab
doctor
Answered by Dr. Manisha Jain (9 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
commonly ER positive

Detailed Answer:
Hello XXXXXXX you are most welcome.
Most breast cancers are estrogen positive and this is a good prognostic sign because these ER positive cancers respond well to surgery and chemotherapy both.
In case you have other questions in future you can contact me directly on http://bit.ly/drmanishajain
Take care.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Manisha Jain (18 minutes later)
Hello again, Dr. XXXXXXX thank you so much for your very quick response. I have one more question, and then I will close this discussion. My question is: Is it common, or uncommon, for breast cancer to be both estrogen, and progesterone, positive, such as mine?

Thank you so much again.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Manisha Jain (32 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
common to have estrogen positive cancer

Detailed Answer:
Yes it commoner to have receptor positive cancer than receptor negative one.
And as I told you in our earlier discussion it is a good prognostic sign to have receptor positive cancer.
Wish you all the best.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Dr. Manisha Jain

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Can DHEA be taken by a person with history of breast cancer?

Brief Answer: not recommended Detailed Answer: Hello mam, thanks for trusting health care magic. Dhea is recommended in females aged more than 60 years because it gives a good raw material for production of estrogen which thus helps in combating the menopausal symptoms to some extent. But its results in patients at risk of breast cancer are controversial. Guidelines followed worldwide these days are to use DHEA only in patients with ER Negative (estrogen receptor negative) breast cancer. But I don't think the tissue sent fifteen years back was tested for ER Receptor so in your case its best to avoid it at all times. You can discuss this with your cardiologist so that he can put you on some alternative regimen. In case needed I can provide him with reference of a standard textbook so that he is convinced with this statement. Wish you all the best.