Transgender Breast Cancer Risks-Truth from Peddled Fiction

Recently an article was published claiming that transgender males/females do not suffer anymore risks for breast cancer than the general population. Bear in mind:
  • About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
  • In 2014, an estimated 232,670 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 62,570 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer.
  • About 2,360 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in men in 2014. A man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000.
  • Breast cancer incidence rates in the U.S. began decreasing in the year 2000, after increasing for the previous two decades. They dropped by 7% from 2002 to 2003 alone. One theory is that this decrease was partially due to the reduced use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) by women after the results of a large study called the Women’s Health Initiative were published in 2002. These results suggested a connection between HRT and increased breast cancer risk. 
Now from the article:
So according to the study, medical records of veterans were used to document breast cancer in trans males/females from 1998-2013. Although on it is ONLY since 2011 that the VA began documenting/evaluating/treating transgender vets.
The article then, in oxymoron fashion concludes:
So which is it? Hormones will not raise the risk of breast cancer in transgender patients OR breast cancer among the transgendered (male or female) is RARELY reported and when it is, the breast cancer is directly related to HRT???!!!!

Unfortunately and unprofessionally there remains no master data base where cancer and other  hormonally related transgender maladies/deaths are collected. And it isnt until cases like these make headlines that a hint of what is truly going on with the precarious health of many transgender patients is known.



  1. Are you really this obtuse? The studies are talking about estrogen HRT for post menopausal women, not testosterone therapy.

    1. The article ISN'T, it does say that breast cancer more likely to be mentioned as a risk for M2T and estrogens. But the 10 victims are both male and female (M2T tend to be more advanced, that is all that was said).

      " The studies are talking about estrogen HRT for post menopausal women, not testosterone therapy." Except the distinction there isn't as clear as you would like to claim. Could be read as -- in women, high levels of even natural hormones increase the risk of breast cancer. So, NOT a great leap to surmise that perhaps:

      1) The same might be true for MALES taking high levels of female hormones (I would have certainly expected an increased risk for M2T based on the results for HRT!).

      2) Adding testosterone on top of even normal levels of female hormones, I would not be surprised if that didn't increase the risk too.

      What the LARGE body of data on HRT shows is that you can't muck about with hormone replacement, it's NOT risk free even if all you seem to be doing is resetting declining levels back to what they naturally were before the menopause hit. What ignoring natural levels and adding UN-natural levels of a different hormone will do, goddess knows, but F2T is much smaller numbers, so who knows HOW many will suffer before there are enough stats to say -- whoops, NOT a great idea!

    2. This paper:
      J Sex Med. 2013 Dec;10(12):3129-34. doi: 10.1111/jsm.12319. Epub 2013 Sep 9.
      Breast cancer development in transsexual subjects receiving cross-sex hormone treatment.
      Gooren LJ1, van Trotsenburg MA, Giltay EJ, van Diest PJ.

      a dutch study with 2307 M2T and 795 F2T subjects seems to show that M2T stick with typical male level risk, whilst F2T experience male level risk too.

      EXCEPT (statistical confidence levels and all that aside), this was all based on ONE confirmed and a possible second breast cancer case amongst males, and ONE breast cancer case amongst the females. Plus admitting that the females were a younger group with fewer years hormone exposure than the male group.

      What matters here though is NOT the cancer incidence (since it is so SMALL, and since the smallest possible statistical fluctuation could shift the figures from ONE to TWO, or from ONE to NONE), but the size of the group who weren't DIAGNOSED with breast cancer over the study. Not being diagnosed is NOT the same as not having breast cancer.

      And I can't agree with the supposed conclusion:
      "Cross-sex hormone treatment of transsexual subjects does not seem to be associated with an increased risk of malignant breast development."

      Other earlier papers point out that AGE and number of years of exposure need to be considered, and perhaps, like menopausal females, the risks of continuing hormones as the person ages might increase the risk significantly.

      a 2008 paper says:
      "There are so far only a few cases of hormone-related cancer in transsexuals. There may be an underreporting. The probability of a hormone-related tumor increases with the duration of exposure to cross-sex hormones and the aging of the population of transsexuals."

      So, basically, too early to say yet, they'll have to wait until they have enough lab rats who have been on hormones for decades, and they have enough bodies to count.................

  2. You may get the full original paper using this link

  3. This reminds me of the spin they were putting on antidepressants in the 1990s when they were calling ssri miracle drugs with no side effects (before they told about the suicidal ideation and things).

    They will pay whoever to make clinical trials favor the transitioning so that they can keep using trans people as cash cows. They don't care about the trans community at all. They will use them up then spit them out just like they did with all the people whose lives were being wrecked by ssri as they minimized side effects and lied about the effectiveness. They were no more effective than placebo but the side effects sure were real and long lasting.
    I wonder how they will spin it in 10 or 20 years as all the people who transitioned start to get sicker and sicker. "It was a risk you had to take because you were suicidal if you couldn't transition" "Sorry you are dying of cancer and it didn't work out but at least you had a good 10/20 years living as your true self"

    Before the big prosac boom it was the tobacco industry lying. Hell there were even commercials with doctors recommending cigarettes.

    When are we going to learn?

  4. One caveat to your argument : yes, messing with women's hormones usually bears risks and almost always has side-effects. I have friends in their 20s with hormonal problems and it has important effects on them, including higher cancer risks. However, the pill doesn't seem to increase breast cancer risk, so different degrees of meddling and different hormones will have different effects.

    As for the "there's no study of trans people", maybe, but there are studies on women in similar situations (women who had their ovaries or uterus removed, athletes who wanted to boost their performance, women with abnormal hormone levels and its consequences). They won't have the identity, but they will have taken the drugs/operations. Trans politics is identity politics, medicine isn't (it's part capitalist, but not identity-based).

  5. So according to the study, medical records of veterans were used to document breast cancer in trans males/females from 1998-2013. Although on it is ONLY since 2011 that the VA began documenting/evaluating/treating transgender vets.

    How many MTFs were in the military compared to non-military MTFs?

  6. American Cancer Society,

    What are the risk factors for breast cancer in men? (Males can get breast cancer)

    Among other possible risk factors, it lists,

    Liver disease

    The liver plays an important role in sex hormone metabolism by making binding proteins that carry the hormones in the blood. These binding proteins affect the hormones' activity. Men with severe liver disease such as cirrhosis have relatively low levels of androgens and higher estrogen levels. They have a higher rate of benign male breast growth (gynecomastia) and also have an increased risk of developing breast cancer.

    Estrogen treatment

    Estrogen-related drugs were once used in hormonal therapy for men with prostate cancer. This treatment may slightly increase breast cancer risk.

    There is concern that transgender/transsexual individuals who take high doses of estrogens as part of a sex reassignment could also have a higher breast cancer risk. Still, there haven’t been any studies of breast cancer risk in transgendered individuals, so it isn’t clear what their breast cancer risk is.


    Studies have shown that women's breast cancer risk is increased by obesity (being extremely overweight) after menopause. Obesity is probably a risk factor for male breast cancer as well. The reason is that fat cells in the body convert male hormones (androgens) into female hormones (estrogens). This means that obese men have higher levels of estrogens in their body.

    Other links..

  7. Thanks, Anon May 8, for your comments. But the major risk of breast cancer in men is genetic. If there are a significant number of women in your family who have suffered from breast cancer, then, whether or not you you have visible or palpable breasts, you should get yourself checked out maybe every 5 years. Your sisters should obviously get checked more frequently.


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