Philia (Why Friends Don’t Let Friends Use Synthetic Hormone Drugs)

Something happened on the way to the medicine cabinet.

Studying entries from March 1965 to February 1966, I discovered that the Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature indexed a variety of articles on “Estrogens” and the majority of them involved “Youth”:

“Age, postponement” – “Menopause: is it necessary?” – “Pills to keep women young” –

“Springs of youth” – “Pills to keep women young.”

All these articles addressed the latest drug on the market, the famous estrogen replacement therapy that was supposed to ease women’s transition into old age, making them “younger” as they went along.

Women were dying. Younger women were dying, too, thanks to the oral contraceptives (OCs, or “The Pill”) the drug companies were also touting.

Since the 1960s, when these drugs were introduced, the incidence of cancer has risen. Remember the summer of 2002 when the evening news reported the halt of the huge federal study, the Women’s Health Initiative Clinical Trial? It reported a 26% increased breast cancer risk for women who use combined (estrogen plus progestin) hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

Some observers have noted that health authorities did not alert women in 2002 that OCs and HRT contain the same drugs and that OCs include even higher doses.

By the way, in 2005 the World Health Organization (WHO) classified combined OCs and combined HRT as “carcinogenic to humans.” The WHO said that OC use is associated with an increased risk for developing cancers of the breast, liver, and cervix.

According to the National Cancer Institute, the lifetime risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States in the 1970s was just under 10 percent (often expressed as “1 in 10”).

The rate is now 1 in 8.

Friendship is an expansive term. It operates on different levels. The ancient Greeks knew this. They had four definitions of the word love. Philia (affection between friends) is one of them. Storge (family ties), eros (sensual desire), and agape (magnanimity) are the others.

Shakespeare knew a thing or two about friendship: his Bolingbroke (in Richard II) rejoices,

I count myself in nothing else so happy
As in a soul remembering my good friends.

Unfortunately, modern life seems to focus on eros to the exclusion of the others. In a culture of life, philia, storge, and agape would easily win the day.

Friends don’t let friends use synthetic hormone drugs.


“Since passage of the 1971 National Cancer Act, the overall incidence of cancer in the U.S. has escalated to epidemic proportions, now striking 1.3 million, and killing about 550,000 annually. The median age for the diagnosis of cancer is 67 in adults, and six in children.” – Cancer Prevention Coalition Web Site

What Proves the OC/Breast Cancer Connection?

“Breast cancer is the worldwide leading cancer in women and is the most common cause of cancer death in U.S. women age 20-59. In the U.S. every year about 175,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 43,000 women die from this disease. This means that about one U.S. woman out of eight will develop breast cancer at some time in her life and one fourth of such women will die from this disease. Using the Birth Control Pill, especially at a young age, markedly increases a woman’s risk for developing breast cancer. This risk is increased even higher when combined with other breast cancer risk factors such as induced abortion, hormone treatment (such as estrogen supplementation), family history of breast cancer, and other factors.  The U.S. has one of the highest rates of hormonal contraceptive use (73% to 90% of women born after 1950) and induced abortion in the world, especially in young women (e.g., 44 abortions per thousand women under 19 compared with at most 30 per thousand for any other country). ” – “Breast Cancer Risk From the Pill,” by Chris Kahlenborn at Life Web Site.

Copyright © Ann H. Slattery 2011

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