One of the most common types of cancer in the world is breast cancer. Most women that are diagnosed with this condition are over 50, but it can also be acquired at a young age. There is about one in eight women that are diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime, but there’s a good chance of recovery if it is detected in its early stages.
About two-thirds of women that suffer breast cancer have tumors that contain hormone receptors, which means that there’s a tumor with receptors for the estrogen or the progesterone or it could be possibly both. Thus, the need for the hormone therapy which blocks these hormone’s and fights cancer’s growth.
What is Breast Cancer
Before we tackle the treatment for breast cancer, let us first know what exactly is a breast cancer. Breast cancer starts when cells in the breast begin to grow out of control and eventually, these cells usually form a tumor that can be often be seen on an x-ray or be felt as a lump.
You should know that the tumor is malignant or cancerous and if it grows and invade into the surrounding tissues or metastasize (spread) to distant areas of the body then that’s where breast cancers establish inside a woman’s body. It is widely known that breast cancers occur mostly entirely in women, but men can get breast cancers too.
Why Hormone Therapy is done
Hormone therapy treatment is only used to treat cancers that are hormone sensitive. In the breast cancer case wherein a patient has a tumor with receptors, which means that it is fueled by natural hormones like estrogen and progesterone, the doctors will pass it as estrogen receptor positive (ER positive) or progesterone receptor positive (PR positive).
The hormone therapy for breast cancer can help to prevent cancer from coming back; decrease the risk of cancer developing in other breast tissues; stop or slow the growth of cancer that has been spread, and reduce the size of the tumor prior to surgery.
Risks of Hormone Therapy
Of course, there’s no medication that doesn’t have its own risks, which is why it will be stated here as to what will be the hormone therapy’s risk for breast cancer. These are the side effects of hormone therapy for breast cancer:
- Hot flashes
- Vaginal discharge
- Vaginal dryness or irritation
- Joint and muscle pain
- Impotence in men with breast cancer
There are also those risks that are less common and are more serious side effects in taking the hormone therapy treatment. These risks may include:
- Blood clots in veins
- Endometrial cancer or uterine cancer
- Heart disease
Expectations for Hormone Therapy Treatment
There are some different approaches to hormone therapy, such as medications that block the hormones from attaching to the cancer cells. When the hormones can’t access the cancer cells, then the tumor growth will slow down and the cells may die eventually. The breast cancer medications that will have this action include:
Tamoxifen is in pill form that is usually taken daily. This is used to reduce the risk of cancer’s recurrence in women who have been treated in the early stages. In this type of situation, it typically takes 5 to 10 years of medication.
Additionally, this drug can also be used to treat cancer in women with advanced cancer and is appropriate for both premenopausal women and postmenopausal women.
- Toremifene (Fareston).This drug is taken as a daily pill which is used to treat breast cancer that has already spread throughout the other areas of the body. Toremifene is also used in postmenopausal which strengthens the bone during this period.
- Fulvestrant (Faslodex). This is administered as a shot which is done every month after first getting a dose every two weeks for the first month. This is also used as a treatment for women who is in their postmenopausal and have an advanced breast cancer.
Resistance to Hormone Therapies
Cancers that have spread to some distant parts of your body and is already treated with hormone-blocking therapies may gain the ability to become resistant to their effects over time. Thus, a new group of medications can be added to cancel their resistance and would still respond to hormone treatments.
There are two medications that are currently approved for such situations, and these are Palbociclib (Ibrance) and Everolimus (Afinitor).
Breast cancer is one of the many illnesses that makes one shiver with fear just by hearing it. However, you should not be reluctant from the treatments and medications that you definitely need nor fear the sickness. Treatments may be a financial burden but it will surely give you help in battling breast cancer; hormone treatment drug coupons are available to ease the financial burden so you may set your mind at ease.
Additionally, you can prevent this disease by checking your breasts or go for a check-up at your doctor and ask for advice.