Hormone therapy is a treatment for slowing down or stopping the progression of hormonal cancers. It is also called hormone treatment or endocrine therapy.
Hormone therapy is used for:
- Cancer treatment. It may reduce the likelihood of cancer recurrence or may stop or slow its progression.
- Cancer symptoms relief. Hormone therapy is commonly used to reduce/ prevent symptoms in cancer patients who cannot go through surgery or radiation therapy.
Keep in mind!
Hormone therapy is used to treat certain cancers and should not be confused with hormone replacement therapy. Hormone therapy is used to block hormones and their action, while hormone replacement therapy is not a treatment for cancer and generally refers to the administration of hormones to postmenopausal women to supplement hormones that the body cannot produce anymore and to treat menopausal symptoms.
Conditions for which hormone therapy is commonly indicated:
- Breast cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Endometrial cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Thyroid cancer etc.
In some cases, this treatment is prescribed before tumor resection or mastectomy, to reduce the size of the tumor before it is removed, but in most cases the administration begins after surgery and continues for five years, to counteract a possible return of the disease. Also, if doctors believe that chemotherapy is necessary, hormone treatment is started at the end of it.
Hormone therapy is most often used in conjunction with other cancer treatments. The types of treatment a patient needs depends on the type of cancer, the degree of its spread and its extent, whether its evolution is based on hormones, as well as any other existing health issues in the patient.
When used in combination with other treatments, hormone therapy is effective in:
- Neoadjuvant therapy – Reducing tumor size before surgery or radiation therapy.
- Adjuvant therapy – Reducing the risk of cancer recurrence.
- Destroying cancer cells that have reappeared or spread to other parts of your body.
Hormone therapy can cause side effects
Considering the fact that hormone therapy blocks your body’s ability to produce hormones or influences the way hormones behave, it may cause some side effects. They will depend on factors such as the type of hormone treatment and how the patient`s body responds to it. People respond differently to the same treatment, so not everyone will experience the same side effects. Additionally, there are some gender-based side effects.
What to expect when you are given hormone therapy
Hormone therapy Highlands Ranch clinicians confirm that hormone treatment can be administered in different ways, including:
- Oral administration. Hormone treatment is given as pills to be swallowed.
- Injectable administration. Hormone treatment is given by injection into a muscle in the arm, thigh or hip or just under the skin.
- Surgery. The patient may go through a surgery to remove the hormone-producing organs. Ovaries are commonly removed in women, and testicles in men.
Some examples of hormone therapies include:
In breast cancer, tamoxifen is a type of hormone therapy that works by blocking estrogen from binding to breast cancer cells that have estrogen receptors (about 2/3 of all breast cancers).
In prostate cancer, hormone therapy is to decrease testosterone levels or to influence the way testosterone interacts with the cancer cell. Lowering testosterone levels or blocking the effects of testosterone hinders the growth of prostate cancer.