Hormone therapy in cancer treatment

What is hormonal therapy?

Hormonal therapy, also known as endocrine therapy, is a type of cancer treatment that involves targeting hormones or hormone receptors to inhibit the growth and spread of hormone-sensitive tumors.

1. Why hormonal therapy?

Hormone therapy will interfer with the body’s hormone levels or hormone receptors to slow down or stop the growth of hormone-fueled cancer cells. It is commonly used in the treatment of hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, prostate cancer, and other hormone-sensitive tumors.

2. How does hormonal therapy work?

Estrogen receptor blockers: These medications prevent estrogen from stimulating the growth of hormone receptor-positive breast cancer cells.
Aromatase inhibitors: These drugs inhibit the enzyme aromatase, which plays a key role in converting androgens into estrogen in postmenopausal women.
Androgen deprivation therapy: This treatment reduces the production of male hormones (androgens) to slow the growth of prostate cancer cells.
Hormone receptor modulators: These drugs target hormone receptors on cancer cells to interfere with hormone signaling pathways.

3. Common side effects

Menopausal symptoms: Hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and mood swings may occur in women undergoing hormonal therapy.
Bone loss: Some hormonal therapies may increase the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures.
Sexual dysfunction: Changes in libido, erectile dysfunction, or vaginal dryness can be experienced by individuals undergoing hormonal therapy.
Fatigue and muscle weakness: Hormonal therapy may lead to feelings of tiredness and weakness.

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