Hormone therapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses medications to change the way hormones are produced or how they work in the body. Hormones are chemicals that are produced naturally in the body and help regulate various functions such as growth, metabolism, and reproductive functions. Some types of cancer require hormones to grow, and hormone therapy can be used to slow down or stop cancer growth by blocking or interfering with hormone production or activity.
Hormone therapy is often used to treat breast and prostate cancer, as these types of cancer can be
fueled by hormones. In breast cancer, the female hormone estrogen can stimulate the growth of cancer
cells. Hormone therapy can be used to block the production of estrogen or block the way estrogen works
in the body. In prostate cancer, male hormones called androgens can fuel the growth of cancer cells.
Hormone therapy can be used to block the production of androgens or block the way androgens work in the
Hormone therapy can be administered in different ways, including orally, through injections, or through implantable pellets. The type of hormone therapy used will depend on the type of cancer being treated, the stage of the cancer, and the individual patient's needs and preferences.
In breast cancer, hormone therapy is often used in combination with other treatments such as surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy. It is typically used for hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, which means the cancer cells have receptors that can bind to estrogen or progesterone. Hormone therapy can be used before or after surgery to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence or to shrink the tumor before surgery. It can also be used to treat advanced breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.
In prostate cancer, hormone therapy is often used as a primary treatment for advanced or metastatic prostate cancer. It can also be used in combination with radiation therapy or surgery for localized prostate cancer. Hormone therapy can help shrink the tumor and slow down the growth of cancer cells, but it is not a cure for prostate cancer.
Like all cancer treatments, hormone therapy can have side effects. The side effects will depend on the type of hormone therapy used and the individual patient's response to the treatment. Common side effects of hormone therapy include hot flashes, fatigue, mood changes, decreased sex drive, and bone thinning. Some types of hormone therapy can also increase the risk of blood clots, heart disease, and stroke.
In summary, hormone therapy is a type of cancer treatment that can be used to block or interfere with hormone production or activity. It is commonly used to treat breast and prostate cancer, but can be used to treat other types of cancer as well. Hormone therapy can be administered in different ways and may be used in combination with other cancer treatments. Like all cancer treatments, hormone therapy can have side effects, and patients should discuss the potential risks and benefits of hormone therapy with their doctor.