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June 4th, 2010
02:02 PM ET

'Sex and the City' hazardous to women's health?

By Elizabeth Cohen
Senior Medical Correspondent

You may find the new “Sex and the City” movie entertaining – but don’t turn to it for medical advice.

In the movie, Samantha Jones, the eldest of the famous foursome of gals, takes hormones.

“I’m leading the way through the menopause maze,” she tells her friends. “I’ve tricked my body into thinking it’s younger…No hot flashes. No mood swings. And my sex drive is right back to where it was.”

The medical hiccup: Samantha had breast cancer, and doctors generally don’t recommend hormone therapy for breast cancer survivors, since some studies show it increases the chances of having a recurrence.

“Most doctors that I know would do everything possible to avoid use of hormone replacement therapy in a woman with a past history of breast cancer,” says Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society.

Some breast cancer survivors are upset about the movie.

“It drives me crazy that some woman out there might think this is OK,” says Courtney Bugler, a breast cancer survivor and executive director of the Young Survival Coalition.

Candice McDonough, a spokeswoman for New Line Cinema, which produced “Sex and the City 2,” declined to comment.

The National Cancer Institute and Susan G. Komen for the Cure have advice for breast cancer survivors about hormone replacement therapy.

With reporting by CNN's Sabriya Rice and John Bonifield


soundoff (242 Responses)
  1. Jenn

    I'm highly amused that it's mostly men who are criticizing the movie. Threatened much, fellas?

    June 4, 2010 at 21:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Sheryl

    I was diagnosed with breast cancer a little over ten years ago while on HRT. I am no fan of hormone replacement, and discourage its use if asked. Whatever the source of your information, do your research if you are considering HRT. Some unpleasant symptoms associated with menopause seem less troublesome to me - in retrospect.

    June 4, 2010 at 21:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. jovana

    OMG – it's a movie.-- And if I recall it correctly, Samantha was using "natural" hormone products not synthetic. I seem to recall her holding up a copy of Suzane Sommers book.

    June 4, 2010 at 21:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. newsie

    Mr. Smithers,
    You need to grow a pair and grow up. It is men, and people, like you that make the divorce rate high and trust levels down. Read the Bible sometime, unless you'd rather burn. Be a good example to society.

    June 4, 2010 at 21:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Really

    Is this a joke?

    June 4, 2010 at 21:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. ZFrost

    If someone is taking their medical advice from a movie, especially a movie like Sex and the City, then they have a lot more to worry about than the potential hazards of hormone therapy.

    June 4, 2010 at 21:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. dave

    The only bit of movie medical advice i have ever found to be worth actually using was Rambo's use of gun powder and a spark to cauterize the gunshot wound he suffered in Rambo 3.

    Seriously this country is just full of batsh*t insane people if they are following the medical advice from any movie, and not from a physician.

    June 4, 2010 at 21:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. tbird

    Everyone knows it's a movie. Everyone knows it's fiction. The point is that it is a bad example for women. The movie is very much directed at women. People don't make decisions in the linear fashion that some of you believe. Much of the work is unconscious and based on norms created in part by the media they ingest – especially if they do so uncritically. They will think about wanting to feel more womanly and sexual, like SJ. I hope they don't, because I think that the whole hormone thing is about avoidance. Samantha's character has always been really annoying to me. It's like if you are a woman with a big sexual appetite that has to totally define you. I mean really, what else does she have going on? She's all about image and seeming and sensation. Unfortunately, in a culture obsessed with a paltry, materialistic notion of beauty and a conviction that age and beauty are incompatible – it's no wonder she's so popular. So many lame notions about women it's a wonder it gets called feminist. And all the schlock about it really being about female friendship is such a red herring.

    June 4, 2010 at 21:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Rainey

    No one in their right mind who cared at all about their health would emulate all the bed hopping that goes on with this character. Someone that careless about her overall sexual well being just might really be stupid enough to take hormones.

    June 4, 2010 at 21:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Angelique

    As long as those women who see this and then think it is ok, aren't doctors who can prescribe their own medication, I don't think we need worry about this at all? Actually wait, we don't even need to worry about THAT because a doctor wouldn't prescribe it to themselves. Yeah – so this is pointless. Thanks for wasting our time.

    June 4, 2010 at 21:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. colin

    WHAT??!??! you mean the movies MAKE STUFF UP???? I am SHOCKED!!! Thank goodness for Dr. Gupta and his insights!! I almost took my broom for a ride a-la Harry Potter!!!

    June 4, 2010 at 21:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Larry Flynt

    The movie/series was originally titled "Urban Sluts" but was renamed by a Hollywood focus group.

    June 4, 2010 at 21:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. akgirl

    Folks....it's a movie. Make believe, for fun, not where you go for medical advice. Bottom line....get a grip!

    June 4, 2010 at 21:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. clw

    It is just a movie! Are movies ever exactly accurate on all issues?? It's fiction. Get over it!

    June 4, 2010 at 21:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Kate

    OMG – seriously people, it's a movie. This is insane.

    June 4, 2010 at 21:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Christine McG

    I'm sure Samantha is not taking pharma's idea of hormone replacement therapy! She is probably doing bio-identical, naturopathic treatment. Plus, we don't know the kind of breast cancer she had. PLEASE! It's a movie. If there are women out there who model their lives after Samantha and want to do what she does, they will have to go to a doctor for the prescription to get the progesterone cream, etc. Is she being irresponsible? IT'S A MOVIE!!! She does not play the role of a doctor either.

    June 4, 2010 at 21:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. carrot stick

    I will assume that cancer patients and their doctors will work within the best advisable course of action, not be influenced by obvious fiction. What I find alarming is this fellow Jim Smithers who comments in such cavalier fantasy fashion about his mid-life crisis plan for self delusion. Or, should we just recognize him as the troll he is? Talk about fiction........

    June 4, 2010 at 21:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Janice

    My daughters and I saw the movie last weekend and loved it. I chuckled at the part about the bioidentical hormones because it was so exagerated. My mom and I take bioidentical hormones. I only take progesterone. She takes estrogen. My mom has had breast cancer but it was hormone receptive negative. When you are on these hormones you do need to have annual check ups, blood work, ultrasound, pap smear and mammogram or you will not get refills.

    June 4, 2010 at 21:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Shannon

    The contents of Sex and the City are purely fictional. While I am a huge fan of the show, I would hope nobody in their right mind would look to this movie for medical advice. Their lives are not only fake, but on a completely different level than the lives of the majority of Americans.

    June 4, 2010 at 22:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Mike

    Silly to get medical advice from a movie. If I want medical advice I'll get it from a magazine ad or commerical so I can tell my doctor what to prescribe.

    June 4, 2010 at 22:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Wzrd1

    If *ANYONE* considers *ANYTHING* on television as sound medical advice, they deserve the early death they'll earn.
    Television is ENTERTAINMENT, not professional advice. The TV can't examine you and utilize that information and 10+ years of training PLUS experience to diagnose you.
    Maybe that is why I *GO* to a doctor to treat any ailment that needs to be treated and not to my toaster oven, microwave oven or television!

    June 4, 2010 at 22:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Dawn

    If anyone takes health advice from this nonsense, they fail at natural selection.

    June 4, 2010 at 22:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. cam

    Jim, I actually think you are making up a story to get attention. Your comments sound like those of a teenager. A grown adult isn't going to post comments like that onan article regarding breast cancer. Get off the computer!

    June 4, 2010 at 22:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. SueZQ

    Mr. Smithers, Perhaps you are right, your wife is dumb, for marrying you of course. I'm sure she will compensate for that by hiring a smart attorney.

    June 4, 2010 at 22:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. anon

    Yes, I only look to Jennie McCarthy for medical advice.

    June 4, 2010 at 22:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Char

    People it is a flippin MOVIE

    June 4, 2010 at 22:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Julie

    Wow some of the people posting are very rude and judgmental! Say what you want sir but I know that I am a caring, sensitive, moral, aware, informed, intelligent person even while I enjoy watching a television show/movie called Sex and the City. Some of you others should not comment unless you've actually seen the movie, because what you are saying actually doesn't make that much sense.

    June 4, 2010 at 22:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. John Clooney

    All the characters were okay except for Sarah Jessica Parker. She looked complete trash.

    June 4, 2010 at 22:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. mark nyc

    its fiction, people. get over it and enjoy the entertainment value. jeez.....

    June 4, 2010 at 22:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. sue koury

    had a sister who had cancer and took a risk to take HRT unfortunately she has immediately a recurrence and the health care provider was shocked and blamed it on the physician who gave her the prescription, knowing she has cancer history.

    i would be watchful to never take a high risk of "avoiding inconvenience" by jeopardizing my health.

    June 4, 2010 at 22:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Big Al

    Any woman who gets her love or health advice from a film – especially one like this – needs to have her head examine. Note for the ladies: We guys find not ONE of the female characters of Sex and the City to be remotely attractive nor sexy.

    From the slutty one, to the bitter, materialistic one, to the spacey one who converted to marry a Jew for his dork and money to Carrie herself...none of the neurosis nor anger nor cynisism of these awful women are anything that a man in real life wants.

    June 4, 2010 at 22:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Caitlin

    Until tonight I was a Sex and the City virgin. I saw the movie with a bunch of female friends. I would say that the first clue that this movie is not based on reality was the fact that the ladies in the movie are all dressed up and wearing high high heels even in their homes! I don't plan on taking medical advice from them (although Samantha describes the pills as natural). We were all laughing about the movie when we left – though we are all contemplating kissing another man and then telling our husbands what we did. In the movie when that happens, (spoiler alert) the husband buys the wife a big diamond ring. I can see us doing that just as much as I can see us following the medical advice of Suzanne Sommers and SATC!

    June 4, 2010 at 23:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Merle

    Those earrings would be hazardous to your ear-lobe health.

    June 4, 2010 at 23:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Leslie

    Actually, smart doctors know that some bio-identical hormones given in the right amounts can not only prevent recurrence of breast cancer but are essential to any woman, whether they have had breast cancer or not,
    to retain long term health. Does anyone read Susanne Somer's books? She is one of the most brilliant women alive and way ahead of her time. She had breast cancer and uses bio-identical hormones daily to prevent a recurrence.

    June 4, 2010 at 23:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. patrice conte

    bio identical hormones do not cause cancer. in fact you may recall suzanne sommers went on bio identical hormone replacement to cure her cancer.

    you're correct however that synthetic hormone replacement has been known to cause or worsen cancer.

    June 4, 2010 at 23:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Majestyk

    I think that falls under the category of people doing stupid stunts because they saw it on Jackass or little kids being violent because of video games. Don't take everything so seriously and use a little common sense.

    -maj

    June 4, 2010 at 23:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Cynthia

    Debbie is correct about the hormones and I am a breast cancer survivor.

    Sharon, sorry about your sex life, you sound like are suffering from depression.

    Jim Smithers – you are a pig.

    and SaudiRox – who cares???? no one but you!

    June 5, 2010 at 00:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. ramon chenloo

    very dumb movie....but still a movie.....come on people!!

    June 5, 2010 at 00:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Bill

    Stop giving people too much credit. People are influenced by movies, fiction or not! Many people act what they see in the movies: expectations of being drunk, expectations of sex, etc.

    It's not so much people will turn to this movie for medical advice, but it will be associated with a life of "glamor". Isn't the movie attractive in the first place because it shows such a life? (as a fiction, it has nothing else going for it)

    June 5, 2010 at 00:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Proud American

    SERIOUSLY??????This is a ridiculous debate. It is a movie for heaven's sake! And a personal message for SaudiRox..I don't particularly care about your opinion regarding American society or what women are "allowed" to do in Saudi Arabia or Allah's will for that matter.

    June 5, 2010 at 00:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Survival of the Fittest

    I'm sorry to be the one to say this, but if women (and/or their doctor/misc health care professional) are too stupid to know and/or find out that HRT after breast cancer is bad, then I think it's just nature's "natural selection" at work.

    We all know that most of what we see in the movies is "NOT REAL"! And if "they" are too stupid to know that or at least to verify what they see, then good riddance!

    If any woman is so ignorant, that they don't even know enough to ask a professional before using HRT, (which would be difficult since it requires a prescription in the USA) then I guess, it's good for the gene pool that they will no longer be around to reproduce regardless of their age.

    June 5, 2010 at 00:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Dont Believe

    I understand that this movie is fiction, but many women look up to these characters and idealize them. I can imagine that there are some women in their 40's and 50's that want to emulate Sam Jones' sex drive and personality. Sex and the City has millions of followers. Knowing this, the makers of the movie should be more responsible.

    June 5, 2010 at 00:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. keith

    Who in their right mind would take medical advice from a character who potrrays gutter trash? The character of Samantha gives a whole new dimension to the word "whore".

    June 5, 2010 at 00:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. keith

    Who in their right mind would take medical advice from a character who portrays gutter trash? The character of Samantha gives a whole new dimension to the word "whore".

    June 5, 2010 at 00:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. George

    It's a TV show..and a movie, not a reference text.

    If you look to SATC for medical advice, you need to have your head examined.

    If you look to CNN for rational stories, ditto.

    June 5, 2010 at 00:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. tequila penguins

    It is a movie! Please people! Samantha had breast cancer and know she is in menopause. With cancer you are forced into menopause one way or another (drugs or surgery) whether you like it or not. And if "she" had breast cancer, don't you think she would have reconstruction in the show and not wait untill you were really too old and not real life. surgery and made them bigger. ` It s a MOVIE! Shoes dont care.

    June 5, 2010 at 01:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. flyright

    it's a movie people. Let's get on with the more important things in our lives...

    June 5, 2010 at 01:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. M

    Any person that would rely on education/information for the medical needs from a movie (especially this movie) are the same people that believe everything they read in tabloids like "Us", InTouch" and "Star"

    After seeing the movie, one of my co-workers asked what I thought, and I replied; "it is what it is, it is only there for entertainment value, and nothing else. If you weren't a "Sex in the City" fan, and you don't enjoy seeing amazing shoes & clothes, don't go". There is no plot, there really is no message. But . . . the night I went to see it was a great great night out, and we all had a lot of laughs & giggles!

    June 5, 2010 at 01:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. patsy202

    Come on, Jim Smithers. Admit you're a 23 year old boy who lives in his mother's basement. I think you work at Blockbuster and consider Red Lobster fine dining. (And thanks for the laugh, too!)

    June 5, 2010 at 01:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. DoktorBill

    "past history"?! evidently not a doctor of English! Why would anyone listen to anything else you hae to say? A fan of 'The repetively redundant small little playhouse theater' are you?

    June 5, 2010 at 01:39 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.