Hormone Therapy

According to the National Cancer Institutes definition, Hormonal Treatment adds, blocks or removes hormones. For certain conditions (such as diabetes or menopause) hormones are given to adjust low hormone levels. To slow or stop the growth of certain cancers (such as prostate and breast cancer) synthetic hormones or other drugs may be given to block the body's natural hormones. Sometimes surgery is needed to remove the gland that makes hormones. Also called hormonal therapy, hormone treatment or endocrine therapy.

If lab tests show that your tumor depended on your natural hormones to grow it will be described as estrogen-positive or progesterone-positive in the lab report. This means that any remaining cancer cells may continue to grow when these hormones are present in your body.

Hormonal therapy can block your body's natural hormones from reaching any remaining cancer cells. To block your body's natural hormones you may decide to have surgery to remove both of your ovaries. Or you may be given a hormone drug. One of the most common drugs used in hormonal therapy for breast cancer is Tamoxifen.

Like chemotherapy, hormonal therapy affects cells throughout your body. Studies have shown that there is some increased risk for cancer of the uterus. Women taking tamoxifen should have a pelvic examination every year to look for any signs of cancer. Any vaginal bleeding, other than menstrual bleeding, should be reported to a doctor as soon as possible.

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Hormone Therapy