Why Hot Flushes may be Protective Against Breast Cancer
Copyright 2011, James Michael Howard, Fayetteville, Arkansas, U.S.A.
It is my hypothesis that low DHEA is the major cause of breast cancer and other cancers (Annals of Internal Medicine 2005; 142: 471-472).
My mechanism suggests that low DHEA reduces cell adhesions within tissues which stimulates oncogenes in cells containing oncogenes. Ironically, my explanation is that once low DHEA "opens" the cell surface, the increased cell surface can then absorb more DHEA for growth. It is my hypothesis that evolution selected DHEA because it optimizes replication and transcription of DNA. Therefore DHEA levels affect all tissues, even cancerous tissues. Even though DHEA is low, these malignant cells can absorb DHEA at the expense of other tissues, that is, normal cells in normal tissues have reduced cell surface areas. I think this is why cancer causes cachexia; cancer can absorb DHEA at the expense of normal tissues, again, because of increased surface area for absorption of DHEA. It is my hypothesis that evolution selected DHEA because it optimizes replication and transcription of DNA. Therefore DHEA levels affect all tissues, even cancer.
Since DHEA declines in old age, I suggest this is why cancer is more common in old age. However, while cancer is more common in old age, cancer grows less fast in old age. Again, I suggest the increase in incidence is due to low DHEA, but the reduced growth is also due to low DHEA of old age.
My point is that, once initiated by low DHEA, cancer must have a supply of DHEA. DHEA has been suggested as a treatment for hot flashes in women with positive results. "The mean hot flash score decreased 50% from baseline, and there were no side effects that were significantly worse compared with baseline." (Support Cancer Ther. 2006 Jan 1;3(2):91-7). Hot flashes / flushes may result from low DHEA of menopause.
Therefore, hot flashes / flushes may indicate low DHEA. These phenomena may indicate that DHEA is being lowered, which lowers the availability of DHEA for cancer growth. It was pointed out that increased severity of hot flashes further reduces the probability of breast cancer.
I suggest that hot flashes exert their positive, protective effects by reducing DHEA availability for cancer growth.