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EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HORMONE THERAPY

August 23, 2018

What Is Hormone Therapy?
Hormone therapy is used to treat cancer. The therapy slows or stops the growth of cancer that uses hormones to grow.

How Hormone Therapy Works?
It can be used to treat cancer and sometimes can be used to ease cancer symptoms. Hormone therapy can lessen the chance that cancer will return or stop or slow its growth. It may be used to reduce or prevent symptoms in men with prostate cancer who are not able to have surgery or radiation therapy.

What Are The Types Of Hormone Therapy?
Hormone therapy falls into two main groups, those that curb the body’s ability to produce hormones and those that interfere with how hormones work in the body.

Who Are Suitable For Hormone Therapy?
Hormone therapy is used to treat prostate and breast cancers that use hormones to grow. Hormone therapy is usually used along with other cancer treatments. The types of treatment that you need depend on the type of cancer. Has it spread and how far? Does it use hormones to grow? Do you have any other health problem?

How Hormone Therapy Is Used With Other Cancer Treatments?
• Make a tumour smaller before surgery or radiation therapy. This is called neo-adjuvant therapy.
• Lower the risk that cancer will come back after the main treatment. This is called adjuvant therapy.
• Destroy cancer cells that have returned or spread to other parts of your body.

What Are The Side Effects Caused By Hormone Therapy?
Because hormone therapy blocks your body’s ability to produce hormones or interferes with how hormones behave, it can cause unwanted side effects. The side effects you have will depend on the type of hormone therapy you receive and how your body responds to it. People respond differently to the same treatment, so not everyone gets the same side effects. Some side effects also differ if you are a man or a woman.
Some common side effects for men who receive hormone therapy for prostate cancer include:
• Hot flashes
• Loss of interest in or ability to have sex
• Weakened bones
• Diarrhea
• Nausea
• Enlarged and tender breasts
• Fatigue
• Some common side effects for women who receive hormone therapy for breast cancer include:
• Hot flashes
• Vaginal dryness
• Changes in your periods if you have not yet reached menopause
• Loss of interest in sex
• Nausea
• Mood changes
• Fatigue

What To Expect When Receiving Hormone Therapy?
Hormone therapy may be given in many ways. Some common ways include:
• Oral: Hormone therapy comes in pills that you swallow.
• Injection: The hormone therapy is given by a shot in a muscle in your arm, thigh, or hip, or right under the skin in the fatty part of your arm, leg, or belly.
• Surgery: You may have surgery to remove organs that produce hormones. In women, the ovaries are removed. In men, the testicles are removed.

How Hormone Therapy May Affect You?
Hormone therapy affects people in different ways. How you feel depends on the type of cancer you have, how advanced it is, the type of hormone therapy you are getting, and the dose. Your doctors and nurses cannot know for certain how you will feel during hormone therapy.
How To Tell If Hormone Therapy Is Working
If you are taking hormone therapy for prostate cancer, you will have regular PSA tests. If hormone therapy is working, your PSA levels will stay the same or may even go down. But, if your PSA levels go up, this may be a sign that the treatment is no longer working. If this happens, your doctor will discuss treatment options with you.
If you are taking hormone therapy for breast cancer, you will have regular checkups. Checkups usually include an exam of the neck, underarm, chest, and breast areas. You will have regular mammograms, though you probably won’t need a mammogram of a reconstructed breast. Your doctor may also order other imaging procedures or lab tests.

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