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Hormone Therapy

Hormone Therapy In General


Hormone therapy is treatment that adds, blocks, or removes hormones.  To slow or stop the growth of certain cancers, synthetic hormones or other drugs may be given to block the body’s natural hormones.

Hormone therapy can be used before other treatments (Neoadjuvant therapy) or after other treatments (Adjuvant therapy).

Beast Cancer

  • The female hormones estrogen and progesterone can promote the growth of some breast cancer cells.
  • Patients with these types of breast cancer cells may be given hormone therapy to fight the cancer's growth by blocking the body's naturally occuring hormones. 
  • There are two types of hormone therapy for breast cancer.
    • Drugs that keep estrogen and progesterone from promoting breast cancer cell growth.
    • Drugs or surgery to turn off the production of hormones from the ovaries.

 Post Menopausal Women

  • Hormone therapy for women who are postmenopausal and do not have cancer adds more hormones to the body to replace those hormones which are lost due to monopause.
  • This is the opposite of hormone therapy for women with breast cancer in which case the therapy is used to keep hormones away from breast cancer cells.
  • Hormone therapy for women who are postmenopausal used to be called "hormone replacement therapy." 

Prostate Cancer

The prostate gland and prostate cancer are stimulated by male sex hormones which are known as androgen. The most common androgen is  testosterone.

Hormone therapy is designed to reduce the supply of male hormones to prostate cancer cells. This is referred to in medical terms as androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT). ADT is generally used in combination with surgery or radiation in one of the following circumstances:

  • To treat prostate tumors that are at high risk of spreading or returning after treatment
  • To treat prostate tumors that are widespread at the time of diagnosis. 

ADT may be accomplished surgically with the removal of testicles (surgical castration) or with drugs.

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