Hormone therapy is another treatment option used as systemic therapy. Hormone therapy is used to add, block, or remove hormones in the body. It is often used as adjuvant therapy with surgery, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, or radiation in breast and prostate cancer patients.
Hormone therapy can be used in women to lower the risk of recurring early-stage hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer along with high risk hormone-receptor-positive women who have never had the disease. It can also be used to slow the growth of advanced or metastatic breast cancer.
There are three different types of hormone therapy drugs:
- Aromatase inhibitors (Arimidex, Aramasin, Femara)
- SERMs (Tamoxifen, Evista, Fareston)
- ERDs (Faslodex)
Hormone therapy can also be used for men with prostate cancer by stopping the production of male sex hormones, blocking androgen, or slowing the cancer cell reproduction (also known as suppression therapy). Hormone therapy can be used by itself or as adjuvant therapy along with radiation, chemotherapy, or surgery. How long a man takes hormone therapy depends on his stage of cancer, but it can range from a couple of months to 2-3 years. For men taking the therapy longer than a few months, their PSA blood levels will be regularly monitored by their healthcare professional to make sure the cancer has not become resistant to the therapy.