Hormone Therapy for Cancer at Regional Cancer Care Associates (RCCA)
Certain types of cancers use the body’s natural hormones to grow and spread. These cancers are called hormone receptor-positive or, more commonly, HR-positive. For these types of cancers, hormone therapy may be part of the overall, personalized treatment plan that patients receive at Regional Cancer Care Associates.
If you have breast or prostate cancer, your oncologist will likely discuss whether hormone therapy is right for you. Here’s what you need to know about hormone therapy and why it may help in your fight against cancer.
What is Hormone Therapy and How Does it Work?
Hormone therapy works in one of two ways: It will either suppress the body’s ability to make the hormones that feed certain cancers, or it will interfere with how those hormones behave. Hormone therapy generally is used in conjunction with other treatments, including surgery and radiation therapy. It may be used before these procedures to reduce the size of the tumor, or after these therapies to help prevent the cancer from coming back. Hormone therapy may also be used to kill cancer that has metastasized (spread to other parts of the body).
Hormone therapy can be delivered in pills, as injections, or by surgically removing the organs that produce estrogen and progesterone (ovaries) and androgens (testicles).
The most common side effects of hormone therapy for women include:
- Hot flashes
- Vaginal dryness
- Changes in mood
- Loss of interest in sexual activity
- Abnormal menstruation for those who have not gone through menopause
The most common side effects of hormone therapy for men include:
- Hot flashes
- Enlarged, tender breasts
- Weaker bones
- Loss of interest in sex or the ability to have sex
Benefits of Hormone Therapy for Patients with Breast Cancer
Approximately two out of three breast cancers are hormone receptor-positive, meaning they have proteins that attach to estrogen or progesterone and use these hormones to grow. For patients with these types of breast cancer, hormone therapy may help:
- Stop or slow the spread of their cancer
- Reduce the size of the tumor before surgery
- Lower the risk of the cancer spreading to other parts of the body
- Prevent the cancer from recurring
Benefits of Hormone Therapy for Patients with Prostate Cancer
Most prostate cancers feed on testosterone, which is why your oncologist may suggest hormone therapy, depending on the stage of your cancer and the need to supplement other therapies. Hormone therapy may be a part of the overall treatment plan to:
- Alleviate symptoms and pain by reducing the size of the tumor and slowing its growth in patients with advanced prostate cancer
- Reduce prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels if they remain high or start to rise after another treatment
- Lower the risk of cancer recurrence
Discover if Hormone Therapy is Right for You at Regional Cancer Care Associates
Whether hormone therapy should be part of your treatment plan depends on a number of factors, including the type of cancer you have, how much the cancer has progressed, and your overall health. If you’re interested in a consultation with one of the expert oncologists at Regional Cancer Care Associates, contact us today. We’ll set up an appointment for you at the Connecticut, Maryland, or New Jersey location that’s most convenient for you.