Hormonal Therapy

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The term hormone therapy can sometimes be misleading. In the treatment of breast cancer it refers to “anti-hormone” therapy. Many types of breast cancer depend on hormones for growth. Manipulating the body’s hormones by blocking them from “feeding” cancer cells can inhibit the growth of breast cancer and can often result in the shrinkage of tumors.

In addition, hormonal therapy can be used to reduce the chance of developing breast cancer in the other breast. Studies have shown that hormone therapy, such as tamoxifen, can reduce the risk of developing breast cancer in the same (ipsilateral) or opposite (contralateral) breast up to 50%.

Hormonal therapy does have side effects — the most common are menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes. You’ll need to discuss the specific side effects of the drug you will be taking with your healthcare provider.

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