Hormone therapy is a common treatment option that is improving the lives of cancer patients like you every single day. If your oncologist has recommended hormone therapy for your cancer treatment, you’ve come to the right page. Discover more about what hormone therapy involves and what you might expect during the process.
What Is Hormone Therapy for Cancer Treatment?
Everyone has hormones—they’re the body’s chemical messengers that travel through your blood to help you function. For cancer treatment, hormone therapy slows or stops the growth of cancers that use these hormones to grow and spread.
Hormone therapy is used to treat several types of cancer but is most often used for breast cancer and prostate cancer. Usually, it’s paired with other treatments, such as surgery and chemotherapy, but the exact methods in your treatment depend on:
- The type of cancer you have
- How much your cancer has spread
- Whether your cancer uses hormones to grow
- If you have any other health problems
Types of Hormone Therapy
There are two main types of hormone therapy: Those that block your body’s ability to make certain hormones, and those that change how your hormones behave in the body and interact with cancer cells. Which types of medication and treatments you use to control these hormones will depend on the specific type of cancer you have, among other things.
Without the presence of your normal hormones, your tumor will be more likely to stop growing—or shrink altogether—and will be less likely to return later on.
How Is Hormone Therapy Administered?
In general, there are three ways to provide hormone therapy for cancer. These can be given in combination or by themselves, depending on your specific case.
Certain female and male organs produce hormones that can cause your cancer to spread. Because of this, surgery is sometimes part of the hormone therapy process. For example, surgery to remove the testicles or ovaries can be an option for some people with prostate or breast cancer respectively.
One of the advantages of this type of hormone therapy for cancer is that it takes care of a large part of the issue, with medication potentially helping with the remainder of treatment. However, since surgery is a permanent solution, it can’t be reversed after your cancer is in remission.
2. Oral Medicine
In many cases, hormone therapy for cancer treatment is provided with medication you’ll need to swallow. Whether you’re provided with pills, capsules, or liquids, you can typically take the medications at home.
However, it’s very important to take the medication exactly as your doctor and pharmacist tell you to. You may need to take your medicine more or less often depending on the type of cancer being treated, or you may need to follow special instructions while taking it.
These instructions can range from taking your medication with food to making sure the packaging for your medicine is disposed in a certain way. To learn more about the details of what you’ll need to do with your medication, talk to your pharmacist and doctor.
3. Injected Medication
Some types of hormone therapy fight cancer through an injection in the arm, leg, hip, or abdomen. The amount of times you’ll need to receive these depends on both the medication being used and what type of cancer you have.
Chances are, you’ll receive these injections at CHC from one of our healthcare professionals. However, some patients or their caregivers can be trained to give these injections at home.
When Is Hormone Therapy Used?
If your biopsy indicates that your cancer is a type that uses hormones to grow, your oncologist may recommend hormone therapy to destroy it. However, not all types of breast, prostate, or adrenal cancer respond to hormone therapy, so it’s one of several possible treatments you might receive.
Hormone Therapy for Breast Cancer
Hormone therapy is mainly used to fight types of breast cancer that can receive the hormones estrogen or progesterone. Predominately found in the ovaries, removing these hormones can cause tumors to shrink, making them easier to remove with surgery.
Hormone therapy for breast cancer can also be used to reduce the risk that the cancer will return.
Hormone Therapy for Prostate Cancer
When treating prostate cancer, the goal of hormone therapy is to treat cancer that has spread to other parts of the body and to shrink cancerous tumors on the prostate. Hormone therapy for prostate cancer targets hormones called androgens, which are mostly made by the testicles.
Hormone therapy can prevent your cancer from coming back, especially when paired with surgery or radiation therapy.
The Side Effects of Hormone Therapy for Cancer
Side effects of hormone therapy will depend on the type of hormone therapy we use to treat your cancer. However, here are some common possible side effects that can occur regardless of gender:
- Hot flashes
- Decreased sexual desire
- Increased risk of other health problems
There are other possible side effects specific to certain types of hormone therapy. You and your CHC cancer care team will review what you can expect.
Hormone Therapy for Cancer Treatment at CHC
At CHC, we strive to provide the best treatment possible when you work with us. In turn, we offer the latest hormone therapy treatments for cancer, including those still in clinical trials.
Your oncologist will typically prescribe hormone therapy if we need to slow or stop your cancer growth or reduce the cancer symptoms you’re experiencing.
At CHC, we know you’re likely in one of the most challenging points in your life when you come to us. That’s why our medical professionals and staff have the same priority: Making sure you and your family feel supported, every step of the way.
Every member of our team will take time to answer your questions and listen to your concerns, both physical and emotional, with compassion. We’re here to help you focus on healing and strive to provide compassionate, innovative care.
Talk to Our Staff Today
Whether your doctor recommends hormone therapy for cancer treatment, chemotherapy, surgery, or a combination of cancer treatment options, our experienced staff are here to help guide you through each step of the process. To learn more about hormone therapy and other options for treatment, call our experts at 800-411-7999 today.