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What is hormone therapy, and how is it used in breast cancer treatment?

What is hormone therapy, and how is it used in breast cancer treatment?

Forum / Cancer CommunityCategory: Breast CancerWhat is hormone therapy, and how is it used in breast cancer treatment?
Avatar photoCTF Help Staff asked 3 weeks ago
Hormone therapy, also known as endocrine therapy, is a treatment for breast cancer that targets hormone receptors on cancer cells to slow down or stop the growth of hormone receptor-positive (HR-positive) breast cancers. Here’s an overview of what hormone therapy is and how it is used in breast cancer treatment:

What is Hormone Therapy?

Hormone therapy is a systemic treatment that blocks the body's natural hormones (estrogen and progesterone) from stimulating the growth of breast cancer cells. It is specifically used for HR-positive breast cancers, which have receptors for these hormones.

Types of Hormone Therapy

  1. Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERMs)
    • Examples: Tamoxifen, Raloxifene
    • Mechanism: SERMs block estrogen receptors on breast cancer cells, preventing estrogen from binding and stimulating cancer growth.
    • Use: Can be used in both premenopausal and postmenopausal women.
    • Sources: American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute
  2. Aromatase Inhibitors (AIs)
    • Examples: Anastrozole (Arimidex), Letrozole (Femara), Exemestane (Aromasin)
    • Mechanism: AIs lower the amount of estrogen in the body by blocking the enzyme aromatase, which converts androgens into estrogen.
    • Use: Primarily used in postmenopausal women.
    • Sources: BreastCancer.org, American Cancer Society
  3. Estrogen Receptor Downregulators (ERDs)
    • Examples: Fulvestrant (Faslodex)
    • Mechanism: ERDs degrade estrogen receptors and reduce their number, preventing estrogen from binding to and activating the receptors.
    • Use: Used in both premenopausal and postmenopausal women, often after other hormone therapies are no longer effective.
    • Sources: National Cancer Institute, BreastCancer.org
  4. Ovarian Suppression
    • Examples: Medications like goserelin (Zoladex) and leuprolide (Lupron), or surgical removal of the ovaries (oophorectomy)
    • Mechanism: Reduces estrogen production by the ovaries, either through medication or surgery.
    • Use: Primarily used in premenopausal women.
    • Sources: American Cancer Society, Mayo Clinic

When is Hormone Therapy Used?

  1. Adjuvant Hormone Therapy
  2. Neoadjuvant Hormone Therapy
  3. Treatment for Metastatic Breast Cancer

Side Effects of Hormone Therapy

  • Common Side Effects: Hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, mood swings, and fatigue.
  • Serious Side Effects: Increased risk of blood clots, stroke, bone thinning (osteoporosis), and uterine cancer.
  • Sources: American Cancer Society, BreastCancer.org

Summary

Hormone therapy is a key component of breast cancer treatment, particularly for hormone receptor-positive cancers. By blocking or reducing estrogen in the body, hormone therapy can help prevent cancer recurrence and manage advanced cancer.

Further Reading

These resources provide comprehensive information on the various hormone therapy options, their uses, and potential side effects.
2 Answers
Liam answered 2 weeks ago

Hormone therapy is a treatment for breast cancer that targets hormone receptors to slow or stop the growth of hormone receptor-positive cancer cells. For me, taking medications like Tamoxifen really helped. It works by blocking estrogen from binding to cancer cells. I also tried Aromatase Inhibitors, which lower estrogen levels in the body.

The side effects can be tough, like hot flashes and mood swings, but talking to my doctor and joining a support group helped me manage. It's important to stay positive and take it one day at a time.

oliver answered 2 weeks ago

Hormone therapy helps treat certain types of breast cancer by blocking hormones like estrogen that fuel cancer growth. I was prescribed Tamoxifen to block estrogen receptors, and it really helped. Another option is Aromatase Inhibitors, which lower estrogen levels in postmenopausal women. The side effects can be challenging, like hot flashes and bone thinning, but it's important to talk to your doctor about managing them. Keeping a positive attitude and staying informed made a big differnce for me.

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