Hormone therapy may be used to treat breast cancer. Hormones are chemicals in your blood. They control how normal, healthy cells grow. For some types of breast cancer, hormones such as estrogen and progesterone can cause breast cancer to grow.
When you’re first told that you have breast cancer, your doctor will test the tumor to find out if hormones cause it to grow. If the answer is yes, you’ll most likely have hormone treatment. If the answer is no, you will probably not be treated with hormones.
The goal of hormone treatment is to stop the cancer from getting the hormones it needs to grow. When cancer cells cannot get what they need to grow, they shrink and die. Because hormone treatment goes through your whole body, it’s called a systemic treatment.
If your cancer has spread, you’ll most likely have hormone treatment. In this case, it’s used to stop the cancer cells in other parts of the body from growing.
Even if the cancer hasn’t spread, you probably will have hormone treatment. You may have it as well as chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery. The goal is to prevent breast cancer from coming back and to prevent new cancers from forming.
The doctor who treats you with hormones is called a medical oncologist. There are different kinds of hormone treatment used for breast cancer. Each type works a bit differently. They all have the same goal of stopping hormones from getting to the tumor. If you are taking drugs for hormone treatment, you may want to know what they are and the common side effects. Your doctor and nurse will give you the details o n your treatment.
© 2013 Main Line Health