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Hysterectomies and Lung Cancer

For years I’ve told you that the link between smoking and cancer has been exaggerated, and I’m not surprised to see that there’s another danger factor here that’s got nothing to do with lighting up.

Researchers at the University of Montreal were stunned to find that that women who had undergone hysterectomies, or had otherwise had menopause medically induced, were almost twice as likely to develop lung cancer as women who had gone through “the change” naturally.

Ironically, the study began as a quest to find a link between lung cancer and hormones in women. Can you imagine a worse situation? You have a hysterectomy or get your ovaries removed for whatever reason, believing that at the very least you’re reducing your risk of the lethal ovarian cancer. only to find out that you’re nearly doubling your chances of developing an equally deadly disease.

Hormones contain growth agents, and they’re just as likely to cause cancer cells to grow as they are to help offset the effects of menopause – which is why there’s so much evidence out there which says that women should avoid hormone therapies.

The researchers on this study theorize that the lung cancer danger is rooted in the fact that surgically or medically induced menopause results in a woman’s estrogen level dropping to radically low levels almost instantly. In the case of naturally occurring menopause, the decline in estrogen is far less extreme, giving the body time to adjust.

Other studies have also unearthed the detrimental health effects of removing ovaries. The recent Nurse’s Health study found that women who underwent hysterectomies but kept their ovaries tended to live longer than women who had their ovaries removed entirely. Women without ovaries also tended to be at higher risk for theoretically unconnected ailments such as heart disease and other cancers – including lung cancer.

If nothing else, I’m hoping that this study helps spread the news that cigarettes are not the sole cause of lung cancer. For too long, the “quit smoking” mantra of the mainstream healthcare community has served as a catch-all solution to this terrible disease.

But the truth of the matter is that thousands upon thousands of people die from lung cancer every year – people who have never even taken a puff of a single cigarette (filtered or otherwise!).