Hormone Therapy for Cancer Alabama - Clearview Cancer Institute

Hormone Therapy

Hormone Therapy for Cancer in Alabama

 

Hormone therapy is another treatment option used as systemic therapy. There are two groups of hormone therapy, one is used to block the body’s ability to produce hormones, while the other is to interfere with how hormones behave in the body. Hormone therapy is used to add, block, or remove hormones in the body. It is often used as adjuvant therapy with surgerychemotherapytargeted 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 be administered in a few different ways including but not limited to:

  • Oral. Therapy can come in pills that you may swallow.
  • Injection. Some hormone therapy can be given by a shot in a muscle in the arm, hip, or right under the skin in the fatty part of your arm, leg, or belly.
  • Surgery. You may have surgery to remove organs that produce hormones. For example, women may have ovaries removed, while men may have testicles removed. 

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.

Hormone Therapy for Women

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.

Hormone Therapy for Men

Hormone therapy can also be used for men with prostate cancer by stopping the production of male sex hormones, blocking androgen, or slowing 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 cancer has not become resistant to the therapy.

Hormone Therapy Side Effects

Due to the nature of hormone therapy and how it blocks the body’s ability to produce hormones, or how hormones behave, it can cause some unwanted side effects. Side effects may differ in each person depending on what kind of hormone therapy they receive, as well as dependent on their gender. 

Common side effects for women include but are not limited to:

  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Changes in menstrual cycle if you have not yet reached menopause
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Nausea
  • Mood changes
  • Fatigue
  • Enlarged and tender breasts

Common side effects for men include but are not limited to:

  • Hot flashes
  • Loss of interest or the ability to have sex
  • Weakened bones
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue

Hormone therapy affects people in different ways. How you feel depends on the type of cancer you have, how advanced it is, the type of hormone therapy you are receiving, and how much. No one will know for certain how your body will react and how you will feel during hormone therapy, so it is important to keep an open mind and open communication with your doctor. 

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