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Hormone therapy

Hormone therapy slows down or stops growth of tumour cells which use hormones to grow. Sometimes hormone therapy is called endocrine or hormonal therapy.

Hormone therapy reduces the probability of relapses or slows down tumour growth; it is used in prostate gland cancer where surgery or radiation therapy are not possible. Hormone therapy has two main trends: one of them is based on blocking of hormone expression by the body, and the second one rests on changing the principle of hormone functioning.

Most commonly hormone therapy is used for two pathology types: in prostate gland cancer and breast cancer because in these two cancer types the tumour growth is caused by hormones. Hormone therapy may be used as a monotherapy or in combination with other therapies. Neoadjuvant hormone therapy helps reducing the tumour size before surgery or radiation therapy; adjuvant hormone therapy is prescribed after the main course of therapy and is aimed to minimise the risk of relapse. Curative hormone therapy is prescribed when no surgery is possible.

Hormone therapy may be administered orally, as intramuscular or subcutaneous injections, or it may be surgical: organs producing tumour growth hormones (ovaries in women and testicles in men) are excised. It is worth noting that surgical hormone therapy results in infertility, that is why this therapy is prescribed with caution.

Specialists from Medscan.RF discuss hormone therapy which may add value to the scheme of treatment, explain possible side effects, and draw attention to the fact that once stable remission is achieved, hormone therapy should be stopped.