‘Nat­u­ral’ ther­a­pies linked to can­cer

Sunday Mail - - NEWS - SUE DUN­LEVY

THOU­SANDS of Aussie moth­ers and grand­moth­ers are fall­ing vic­tim to a se­cret rise in uter­ine can­cer, with the num­ber of cases of the deadly dis­ease tripling in re­cent decades — and com­pound­ing chemists us­ing women as hu­man guinea pigs are partly to blame.

Medi­cos have warned the in­creas­ing use of untested and un­reg­u­lated com­pound chemist hor­mone re­place­ment ther­a­pies have been linked to the rise in the can­cer.

The num­ber of new cases of uter­ine can­cer di­ag­nosed rose from 942 in 1982 to an es­ti­mated 2861 in 2017 and the epi­demic claims around 450 lives a year. The in­crease is also due to the fall­out of Aus­tralia’s ris­ing obe­sity cri­sis, with doc­tors warn­ing weight gain is a key risk fac­tor for the can­cer.

Pro­fes­sor Neville Hacker di­rec­tor of gy­nae­co­log­i­cal can­cer at Syd­ney’s Royal Hos­pi­tal for Women says about half the rise in uter­ine can­cer rates is due to the epi­demic of obe­sity.

But he has also treated around a dozen cases of uter­ine can­cer linked to hor­mone re­place­ment prod­ucts pro­duced by com­pound chemists.

Menopause ex­pert Pro­fes­sor John Eden says women should be wary about com­pounded prod­ucts.

“The cor­ner chemist can make any­thing with no test­ing or qual­ity con­trol and there is no way of as­cer­tain­ing whether each dose is the same. Is it safe and does it do what it says?” he said.

“That’s why you get dis­as­ters from time to time.”

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