Breast Cancer Hormone Therapy: Is it right for you?

Various medical treatments are available for breast cancer and in every stage of the tumorous growth. Sometimes a combination of different methods as a holistic treatment plan is advised by the doctor to their patient. 

After diagnosing using the PCR Master Mix test,  your doctor will determine the stage of your cancer. Then, they’ll decide on the right treatment option based on a myriad of factors.  

These factors include family history, age, medical history, and genetic mutation. The initial stage treatment may not be effective for someone in the advanced breast cancer phase. 

Breast cancer – causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, pathology By Osmosis

How Does The Breast Cancer Hormone Therapy Work?

Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that begins & spreads in the breasts. Further, this kind of tumor spreads to the nearby tissues & distant organs. The primary objective of breast cancer treatment is to eliminate the tumor and prevent any future growth. 

Hormone therapy is a popular breast tumor treatment, getting recognition & appreciation from all parts of the word. In combination with any other treatment, this therapy is known as adjuvant therapy.

The hormonal therapy is often advised to those who either don’t want to go under the knife or worried about chemotherapy’s side effects. 

How This Therapy Works

In most breast cancer patients, the progesterone & estrogen are two stimulating hormones for cancerous cells’ growth. According to the American Cancer Society, about 2/3rd of breast cancer patients are found to be hormone receptor-positive. 

What hormone therapy does is to prevent the binding of estrogen hormone to the receptor, which eventually slows or thwarts cancerous cells’ growth. 

Who Can Consider Hormone Therapy?

You need to note here that hormone therapy is only useful for someone who is hormone-receptor-positive. If you are hormone-receptor negative, then this therapy simply won’t work for you. 

Different Types of Hormone therapy

The hormone therapy is broadly divided into the following types:

Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators

Popularly known as SERMs, the doctor prescribes these drugs for preventing the cancerous cells from binding to the estrogen. 

This treatment effectively blocks the spreading of tumor cells in the breast tissue, but not any other body tissues. 

However, these drugs are advised for women in their premenstrual phase. The most common types of SEMs are:-

  • Fulvestrant (Faslodex)
  • Toremifene (Fareston)
  • Tamoxifen (Soltamox):

Aromatase Inhibitors

They are quite effective in deterring the production of estrogen by the fat tissue. Still, it does not affect the estrogen, which has been produced by the women’s ovaries. 

Since this therapy cannot control the estrogen from the ovaries, it can only work for women in their postmenstrual phase. 

Fortunately, recent medical research shows that AI treatment combined with ovary suppression is far more effective than tamoxifen when it comes to avoiding breast cancer reassurance after the initial treatment. 

Some AI Types:

  • Anastrozole (Arimidex)
  • Letrozole (Femara)
  • Exemestane (Aromasin)

Ovarian Suppression

For those women who haven’t gone through menopause, ovarian suppression would be the best option. This is done via a surgical method or through medicines. 

Either of the methods, the main aim is to stop estrogen production, which fosters cancerous cell growth. The removal of ovaries is done via the surgical method. With the ovaries removed, you are going to enter permanent menopause.

Are There Any Side Effects of These Therapies?

Yes, there are specific side effects. 

For SERMs, the common problems patients experience are:

  • hot flashes
  • fatigue
  • mood swings
  • vaginal discharge
  • dryness of the vagina. 

AIso, The common side effects of AI include

  • muscle pain
  • joint pain, and 
  • joint stiffness

Final Takeaway

Hormone therapy can treat people who are hormone-receptor positive. Further, your treatment will depend on whether you are menopausal or postmenopausal. It is advisable to speak to your oncologist about whether you are the right candidate for hormone therapy.