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Hormone Therapy For Cancer

Hormones are chemicals created in your body that control many functions, including how your cells grow and what you feel. Hormone therapy changes the amount of hormones in your bloodstream.

Healthcare providers use hormone therapy to treat cancer that depends on estrogen or progesterone to grow, such as breast cancer and uterine cancer. They also use it to reduce the chance of cancer recurring after surgery and to treat metastatic cancer. Contact Hormone Therapy San Diego now!

Hormone therapy can stop cancerous cells from getting the hormones they need to grow and multiply. It may also prevent cancer from spreading, or help it spread less quickly after other treatments. The type of cancer, how far the cancer has spread, and your personal health history are factors that influence which type of hormone therapy you receive.

Medications used for hormone therapy can be given by mouth or by injection. They can be taken for a set amount of time or until you get the results you want from your treatment, depending on the type of cancer you have. Your healthcare team will help you find the best way to take your medications and answer any questions you might have.

Oral hormone therapy is often recommended for people who have ovarian cancer or breast cancer that has spread to the ovaries or uterus. This treatment can be given before surgery and radiation therapy to shrink a tumor, or after those treatments are done. Hormone therapy can be given by mouth or by injection, and it can be taken for a set amount of months or for as long as you want to take it.

Many types of hormone therapy can cause menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes and night sweats. These side effects are more common for women than for men. For some people, hormone therapy can lead to low sex drive or problems reaching an orgasm. If you have a medical condition like heart disease, blood clots, liver disease or high blood pressure, your healthcare team will talk with you about how the hormone therapy you are receiving might affect your risk for these conditions.

Some types of hormone therapy are used for noncancerous conditions that affect the uterus or ovaries, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Feminizing hormone therapy is typically used for transgender women and nonbinary people. It uses medication that blocks the action of male hormones, which then triggers feminine secondary sex characteristics to develop. The hormones estrogen and progestin are usually used in this treatment. This type of hormone therapy is sometimes called feminizing hormone replacement therapy or gender-affirming hormone therapy.

Hormone therapy stops cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to grow and spread. It can be used alone or with other treatments, such as surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. It is sometimes given before other treatments to shrink a tumor (neoadjuvant therapy). It is also used to treat cancer that has come back or spread to other parts of the body after treatment and to lower the risk that it will happen again (adjuvant therapy).

Hormonal therapy for breast cancer is usually used with drugs that block or decrease the body’s production of certain hormones. These include anti-estrogen drugs, such as tamoxifen (Nolvadex, Tamofen), and aromatase inhibitors, such as letrozole (Femara). It may also be used to help prevent breast cancer from spreading after lumpectomy or mastectomy. Hormone therapy is most often used in postmenopausal women. It is not as common in premenopausal women, but can be used to lower the risk that DCIS or LCIS will develop into invasive breast cancer.

Some cancers, such as uterine and prostate cancer, are more likely to be hormone sensitive. These cancers grow in response to estrogen and progesterone. Hormone therapy can reduce the growth of these cancers by blocking or lowering the amount of hormones in the body.

Other types of cancer, such as neuroendocrine tumors, are less likely to respond to hormone therapy. These tumors are made of glandular cells that secrete hormones, such as insulin and glucagon, to control the way the body uses food for energy. Hormone therapy can slow the growth of these tumors by blocking or lowering the hormones they release.

Some hormone therapy is used to treat other types of cancer, such as lymphoma and leukemia. These cancers are treated with corticosteroid hormones, such as prednisone and dexamethasone. These hormones are given by mouth or through an IV in the vein (intravenous). The type of hormone therapy that you have will depend on the type of cancer you have, how far it has spread and other factors. You will get a test to find out if your cancer is hormone-sensitive or not. This test is called a hormone receptor test.

Hormones are chemicals created in the body that control certain cells and organs. Changing the amount of hormones can affect how your body works, including what side effects you have. It’s important to talk with your doctor about what to expect before you start treatment.

Your doctor will explain what to watch for and how to manage long-term side effects of hormone therapy. It is also important to know what will happen if your symptoms don’t improve or become worse with treatment.

For breast cancer, hormone therapy is often used before surgery and/or radiation therapy to shrink a tumor, or to lower the chance that cancer will come back (called neoadjuvant therapy). Hormone therapy can also be given after chemotherapy to help prevent bone loss, or to reduce the risk that cancer will come back after surgery or radiation.

Different types of hormone therapy can have different side effects. Combination hormone therapy (also called estrogen progesterone/progestin therapy or EPT) typically includes both estrogen and progestin, a synthetic form of the progesterone hormone. Taking estrogen without progestin increases your risk for endometrial cancer, which occurs in the lining of the uterus. EPT reduces this risk.

Estrogen alone can cause side effects such as hot flashes and changes in the menstrual cycle. It can also increase your risk for blood clots and heart disease, especially in people who already have a history of those conditions or a family history of them. This is why it’s important to take a low dose of estrogen.

Some women with cancer have memory problems while on hormone therapy, especially if they are taking a type of hormone that increases your risk for heart attacks and stroke (such as tamoxifen). Your doctor may prescribe Zoladex (goserelin) to help with this.

Long-term hormone therapy can increase your risk for osteoporosis, especially if you have a history of blood clots or a heart disease. It can also raise your risk for dementia, although it’s not clear why. Some of these risks stay high even after you stop hormone therapy.

Hormone therapy for cancer can help prevent a tumor from growing or spreading. It also helps relieve side effects of cancer treatments. Your health care team will help you manage long-term side effects. They might give you hormones by mouth or injection. Hormones are chemicals that travel in the blood and change how cells and organs work. Natural hormones are made by glands in the body. They can also be made in a lab.

Hormones affect your body’s temperature, how you sleep, how much energy you have, and your mood. They can also cause hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and changes in sex or sexual desire. Hormone therapy can help treat these symptoms and reduce your risk for certain diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, bone fractures, and dementia.

Some types of cancer, especially breast cancer, depend on estrogen and progesterone to grow. Hormone therapy can block these hormones or stop them from binding to cancer cells. Hormone therapy can also be used before surgery or radiation therapy to shrink a tumor. This is called neoadjuvant therapy. It can also be used after cancer treatment to lower the chances of a tumor coming back or spreading. This is called adjuvant therapy.

Your health care team will decide what type of hormone therapy to use and for how long. They will consider how old you are, whether you have a uterus (women who have had a hysterectomy do not need progestin), and your family history of heart disease, blood clots, liver disease, or osteoporosis. They will also look at the dose and type of estrogen you take, and if you are taking it alone or with progestin.

If you are healthy and within 10 years of menopause, research suggests that the benefits of hormone therapy outweigh the risks. For example, it can prevent bone fractures in 28 out of 1,000 women who have regular periods. It can also decrease the risk of some health problems, such as heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, if you start it before age 60 or within 10 years after menopause.