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Enemy of estrogen therapy to visit

A doctor breaks with conventional medical wisdom by saying synthetic estrogen is the most likely cause of breast cancer.

By JACKIE RIPLEY, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 3, 2002

KEYSTONE -- It has been nearly 30 years since Dr. John R. Lee began studying the effects of estrogen on breast cancer. His research has evolved into a series of books and lectures that attract audiences in the thousands.

Lee believes in using natural progesterone therapy for the lifelong health of pre- and postmenopausal women. He also asserts that conventional estrogen replacement therapy is one of the leading causes of breast cancer. With the number of breast cancer cases climbing every year, it's a theory many women are beginning to embrace.

"The revolution is well under way," Lee said. "Just the fact that so many women show up indicates they're dissatisfied with what their doctors are telling them."

Lee will be at the Bayanihan Arts Center on Friday to talk and sign copies of his new book,What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer, which he co-authored with David Zava and Virginia Hopkins.

With 40,000 women a year in the United States dying from breast cancer, it is "clear the conventional methods of treatment simply are not working," Lee said.

From 1973 to 1998, breast cancer rates increased by more than 40 percent, according to the National Cancer Institute. The institute predicts there will be 203,500 cases of breast cancer diagnosed this year, up from 192,200 in 2001.

"There's overwhelming evidence that we have to raise a ruckus as to what is really going on," Lee said.

As women age, their bodies produce less estrogen, which can lead to physical problems. Conventional medical practice has been replacement therapy using synthetic drugs.

Lee contends that pharmaceutical companies encourage physicians to prescribe estrogen therapy because estrogens "are their No. 1 profitmaking drug."

"If the pharmaceutical companies are honest about what happens with women who use their products, they would lose money but they would save lives," Lee said.

In his book, Lee talks about a "breakthrough" hormone balance program that uses natural progesterone to relieve the symptoms of premenopause and menopause.

According to Lee, synthetic estrogen is the most likely source of breast cancer.

Lee began questioning hormone replacement therapy in 1978 while listening to a medical lecture.

Especially "when the biochemist asked, "Why is it that when you remove ovaries, which make three classes of hormone -- estrogen, progesterone and testosterone -- that we replace only one of them,' " Lee said.

In his book, Lee points to other possible reasons for the increase in breast cancer, including tamoxifen, a drug used to help prevent cancer from coming back after treatment, radiation and mammograms.

Lee's theory that mammograms do not reduce the number of women dying of breast cancer was echoed recently in reports published in respected medical publications.

Abby Saylor, owner of Abby's Health and Nutrition in Carrollwood, is sponsoring Lee's lecture in northwest Hillsborough. She expects 1,500 people to attend. Lee, 74, is a graduate of Harvard University and the University of Minnesota Medical School. He spent 30 years practicing family medicine and now makes his life's work traveling the country educating lay and medical professionals about hormone balance and health.

"He talks to people, not at them," said Lela Lilyquist, who owns Nature's Health Foods in Brandon. "He empowers other doctors to stop being condescending."

- Jackie Ripley can be reached at 269-5308 or

If you go

Dr. John R. Lee will talk about What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Bayanihan Arts Center, 14301 Nine Eagles Drive in Keystone. Tickets are $10. Tickets can be purchased at Abby's Health & Nutrition, 14374 N Dale Mabry Highway, or at the door. Call (813) 265-4931 for more information.

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