Hormones are substances produced to help regulate and coordinate growth, metabolism and reproduction of our body. Prostate and breast cancer depend on hormones to grow. To slow down or stop the growth and spread of cancer cells, Hormone Therapy is used to block or remove hormones they need.
The treatment may consist of taking medication to suppress the production of certain hormones. Examples of hormone therapy include drugs like Tamoxifen, Anastrozloe, Letrozole and others. In other cases, surgery may be required to remove the gland that produces hormones. Hormone Therapy is often used in combination with other treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy or after surgery.
Hormone therapy is a form of systemic therapy, meaning it reaches cancer cells almost anywhere in the body and not just in the breast. It's recommended for women with hormone receptor-positive (ER-positive and/or PR-positive) breast cancers, and it does not help women whose tumours are hormone receptor-negative (both ER- and PR-negative).
Hormone therapy is often used after surgery (as adjuvant therapy) to help reduce the risk of the cancer coming back. Sometimes it is started before surgery (as neoadjuvant therapy) as well. It is usually taken for at least 5 years.
Hormone therapy can also be used to treat cancer that has come back after treatment or that has spread to other parts of the body.