Hormone Therapy for Cancer Treatment

Hormones are chemical messengers that are directly secreted into the blood from the endocrine glands in the body. The blood then carries them to tissues and organs of the body to exert their functions.

Some of the Endocrine Glands in the Body Are:

  • Thymus
  • Thyroid
  • Ovaries
  • Testes
  • Pituitary gland
  • Pineal gland
  • Pancreas
  • Adrenal glands

Furthermore, Hormones Play a Significant Role in Bodily Processes and Functions. Some of These Are:

  • Metabolism of food items
  • Cognitive mood and function
  • Maintenance of body thirst and temperature
  • Growth and development
  • Sexual function
  • Reproductive health and growth

However, some hormones also help specific adrenal, prostate, and other cancers grow. If you have such hormones, we recommend hormone therapy to slow cancer growth or stop it from spreading.

What Is Hormone Therapy?

Also known as hormonal therapy, endocrine therapy, and hormone treatment, it is a cancer treatment that stops or slows the growth of cancer that uses hormones to grow. Such therapy may mean taking medications to block the activity of the hormones and preventing the body from developing more such hormones. Hormonal therapy is suitable for treating prostate and adrenal cancer that are sensitive to hormones. In some cases, hormone therapy may involve the surgical removal of the gland making the hormone.

How Does Hormone Therapy for Cancer Work?

We will start with a hormone receptor test on your tumor if you have hormonal cancer. This will help us learn more about the tumor and find the best treatment option for you. Such a test can also predict whether the cancer cells are sensitive to hormones.

The hormone receptor test measures the number of certain proteins in cancer cells. These proteins are called hormone receptors. Hormones that are naturally made by the body, like progesterone and estrogen, can attach to such proteins in the cancer cells and help them grow. If the test results come positive, the hormone is most probably helping the cancer cells to grow. In such cases, hormonal therapy may be helpful.

However, if the test results come negative, then this means that the hormone is not influencing the growth of the cancer cells, and other cancer treatments are needed. You should always consult with the doctor about the hormone receptor test results.

If the Test Shows That the Hormones Are Affecting Cancer, It Can Be Treated in One of the Following Ways:

  • Medications that keep the glands from making hormones
  • Medications that block the hormone receptors so that the cancer cells don’t use the hormones needed to grow.
  • Surgical removal of the glands that make the hormones.

Furthermore, a Person Gets Hormone Therapy Depending on Many Factors Like:

  • Age of the person
  • Type of cancer
  • Size of the tumor
  • Presence of hormone receptors in the tumor cells

See Also: Breast Cancer Diagnosis-What You Need to Know

When Is Hormone Therapy Given?

Hormone therapy is given before or after other cancer treatments. It may also be an option if the person is not healthy enough to undergo surgery or other cancer treatments. If given before the primary treatment, it is known as neoadjuvant treatment. Such treatments not only help kill cancer cells but also make the primary therapy (often surgery) work better. If hormonal therapy is given after the primary treatment, it is known as adjuvant treatment. Adjuvant therapy is performed to keep cancer from relapsing.

Side Effects of Hormone Therapy for Cancer

Hormone therapy for cancer can cause side effects as it blocks the body’s ability to produce hormones or interferes with the behavior of hormones. The side effects can also depend on the type of hormone therapy a person receives and how the body responds. They can also differ depending upon the gender of the person.

Side Effects for Those Who Receive Hormonal Therapy for Breast Cancer Are:

  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in mood
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Hot flashes
  • Changes in menstrual cycle if she hasn’t reached menopause yet

Side Effects for Those Who Receive Hormonal Therapy for Prostate Cancer Are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Tender or enlarged breasts
  • Weakened bones
  • Hot flashes
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue

Final Takeaway

Hormone or hormonal therapy is used to stop or slow the growth of cancer that depends on hormones to grow. It is often used with other cancer treatments, and the type of treatment required can depend on the type and stage of cancer you have. However, always consult with your doctor before going for hormone therapy.

See Also: All That You Should Know About Breast Cancer Surgery


If you’re looking for hormone therapy or cancer treatment in Anchorage, AK, contact us today. At Far North Surgery, we can provide comprehensive and personalized hormone therapy options for your cancer treatment. Your health is our priority, and we are committed to taking full care of you.

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Dr. Madhu Prasad, M.D., FACS

Dr. Madhu Prasad has over 30+ years of experience working as a general surgeon and surgical oncologist and providing the highest level of care in Anchorage, Alaska. He believes in providing quality care to patients and their families. Inspired by compassion and humanism, Dr. Prasad and his team work for the well-being of their patients.

Alaska Cancer Treatment Center

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