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For more information, contact:


Zoe Stefanadis, RPh

Tamara Bowe, Pharmacy Technician

109 Conner Drive, Suite 1200
Wilshire I Building

Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Telephone: (919) 967-8805

Fax: (919) 967-8205

Three-fold Approach to Cancer

Pharmacist Zoe Stefanadis, owner of Chapel Hill Compounding, has an intense, three-fold interest in cancer: She works with clients to lower their risk of getting cancer; offers support to those who are dealing with the dread disease; and helps survivors along the path of a return to good health.

Pharmacist Zoe Stefanadis, RPh, owner of Chapel Hill Compounding, is an informed, passionate guide in developing
effective HRT programs.

“There is abundant and steadily increasing information linking hormonal imbalance to a range of health conditions, including cancer,” she notes, “and one of the key functions in our compounding pharmacy is to work with clients to carefully develop effective bio-identical hormone replacement therapy programs, if testing indicates the need for supplementation.

“Some years ago, John’s Hopkins published a study that showed that the incidence of breast cancer was significantly greater in women with low progesterone than in women who had normal progesterone levels. Considering all types of cancer, the study found the incidence was 10 times higher with low progesterone levels compared to women with good progesterone levels.

“Studies like that,” says Ms. Stefanadis, “are especially important, because they increase awareness of the value of hormonal balance. Another researcher tested estrogen and progesterone levels in breast tissue specimens from several thousand women who had undergone breast cancer surgery, and reported that, almost universally, there was a deficiency in progesterone relative to estrogen.

“We’re learning more every day,” she says. “We understand better all the time that there are extremely important cross linkages—each hormone affects other hormones in some way. If one is seriously depleted, other hormones are adversely affected. In terms of cancer, it is well-established that hormonal balance lowers the risk of contracting the disease. And it follows that natural, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy for many people—male and female—is an important cancer preventive measure that promotes good health generally.”

Adrenal Insufficiency

When doing saliva testing to determine hormonal levels and develop an individualized program, explains the pharmacist, “We increasingly start with the issue of adrenal insufficiency. There is a parade of patients who are either seeking antidepressants or are suffering from adrenal insufficiency. With few exceptions, they share the symptoms of fatigue and a lack of energy. Fortunately, adrenal dysfunction can almost always be relieved.

“Balance is the key word, the basic concept in all of this work,” she notes, “and increasingly, we are testing patients for adrenal insufficiency before evaluating their estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone status. If we attain balance in the adrenal hormones, other therapies are smoother and more effective. We use saliva testing to ensure that the hormonal balance of our clients is maintained. It is critical that people not accumulate hormones over time, and that they are using the right supplements to metabolize their estrogens correctly.”

Patients With Cancer

Patients undergoing cancer treatment may benefit from nutritional support regimens, Ms. Stefanadis notes, and the compounding specialists are pleased to work with oncologists to develop these plans.

“It’s important to know when to give nutritional supplements, so they do not compete with the cancer drugs the patients are taking. But when we are part of the treatment team, there are support measures we can offer that can be helpful. Nutritional status is the number one indicator of how a patient is doing while undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation. If they are not eating and maintaining good nutritional status, they usually have poorer outcomes.”


Ms. Stefanadis and her colleagues also work closely to support those who are survivors of cancer. “Again, we have a lot of interest in the status of the hormonal system. A patient who has gone through breast cancer treatment may be having symptoms from having little or no estrogen, and we need to figure out if there are particular compounds that can help with vaginal dryness, for example, for the patient who is not on a hormone replacement program. There may be supplements that will help, and bio-identical hormonal balance can be an important part of the restorative plan.”