Estrogen Metabolite: Is your own estrogen causing cancer?
It has been well established that certain estrogen metabolites, or breakdown products, are carcinogenic. Others are protective against cancer. Which estrogen breakdown products are you making? You probably do not know since no one has ever tested you. This is important for all women, regardless if you are taking hormones or not. Even if you are using bioidentical hormones, this is an important test to have done. I recommend that all women have this test performed at least once in their lifetime.
What are estrogen breakdown products?
Your ovaries make 3 types of estrogens: Estrone (E1), Estradiol (E2), and Estriol (E3). Cleverly named to help you know which number they are. After these essential hormones are made, they are then broken down and deactivated. This is a natural process, and every human being, including males, utilizes it. For this article, we will be focusing on the deactivated products 2-hydroxy-estrone, 4-hydroxy-estrone, and 16-hydroxy-estrone. As you can probably tell, the only difference in the name is the number. However, the metabolites are much different in their actions.
2-OH Estrone: The 2-hydroxy-estrone is a protective breakdown product in estrogen dominant diseases such as breast cancer and lupus.
4-OH Estrone and 16-OH Estrone: Conversely, the 4-hydroxy-estrone and 16-hydroxy-estrone products are carcinogenic. The more of these metabolites circulating in your bloodstream, the more likely that you are to develop breast cancer. This is worsened if you already have a family history or previous breast abnormality (abnormal mammogram, fibrocystic disease, or tender breasts).
Why should I get tested?
If we know how you break down estrogens, then we can determine your risk category. If you are producing dangerous amount of estrogen metabolites, then we can add DIM or I3C supplements in order to reverse this. On the contrary, we might find out that you are already making the proper types of estrogen products.
How is the test performed?
The test is called a First Morning Void (FMV). We will give you a test kit to take home, and you have to collect your urine first thing in the morning. After collecting the urine, you will use the provided shipping label to send it to the lab. We are currently use Genova Labs for this test, and you can read about the test on their website. It is called Essential Estrogens.
How much does the test cost?
The test is partially covered by insurance. It is a $600 test without insurance. If you are in “Schedule A” with Genova, then you will only pay $150 for the test. If you are not on Schedule A, then you will likely have to pay the full price for the test.
You can go to Genova’s website to determine which Schedule your insurance company is in. Or, you can call Genova to discuss coverage and the cost of the test.