Many doctors believe that women who have had a personal history of breast cancer should not take estrogen for hot flashes because of a concern that if it may stimulate cancer cells to grow. New research has shown that a progesterone, megestrol acetate, can be effective in decreasing the frequency of hot flashes, and because megestrol acetate is not an estrogen, some doctors consider it safer for women with a history of breast cancer.
Before taking megestrol acetate for hot flashes, you should consult a medical oncologist who is a breast specialist. Progesterones are known to stimulate the personal growth of breast tissue, so they must be used with caution, particularly in women with the history of breast cancer.
Although megestrol acetate may benefit some women with advanced hormonally sensitive tumors by shrinking the tumors, it has not been studied in women with early breast cancers, so its effect on those cancers is not known.
You should also be aware that this drug, which is used to stimulate appetite in cancer patients who have lost considerable weight, can cause weight gain. In addition, the long- term effect of this progesterone on the heart or bone remains unknown.
“If we know cancer well, we can name cancer before cancer names us.”- Francisca Adjei Sarpong
Source: Susan Perry and Kate O’ Hanlan, M.D