Hormone Therapy for the Treatment of Breast Cancer
One treatment for breast cancer is hormone therapy. Therapies that affect the performance of the endocrine system are used primarily to inhibit the growth of cancer cells influenced by hormone levels.
In addition to radiotherapy and chemotherapy, breast cancer treatment can also be done through hormone therapy. This treatment is done by regulating the production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, so that the risk of breast cancer can be controlled.
Benefits of Hormone Therapy for Breast Cancer
In general, the benefits of hormone therapy for breast cancer are:
Inhibiting the growth of cancer cells.
Reducing the risk of spreading cancer cells to other tissues.
Reducing tumor size in the breast before surgery.
In addition, the administration of hormone therapy is also expected to reduce the likelihood of a person experiencing breast cancer again after treatment.
It is important to know that not everyone is suitable to use hormone therapy. This therapy is more suitable for patients with breast cancer conditions with cancer cell types that have positive receptors for hormones. Both estrogen and progesterone, both can stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells.
Most breast cancer sufferers have positive estrogen receptor cancer cells, which are referred to as ER positive (estrogen receptor-positive). While breast cancer that responds to changes in progesterone hormone levels is referred to as positive PR (progesterone receptor-positive). In some cases, a patient with breast cancer can have both receptors.
The type of hormone therapy given will be adjusted to the type of cancer suffered, the stage of the cancer, and the physical condition of the patient in general.
Types of Hormone Therapy for Breast Cancer
There are at least two types of hormone therapy that are usually used in the treatment of breast cancer. The first type of hormone therapy is a drug that makes the hormones estrogen and progesterone stop helping the growth of breast cancer cells, including:
Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs)
SERMs are treatments that prevent breast cancer cells from absorbing estrogen. The most commonly used SERMs drugs include:
Tamoxifen, works by stopping the hormone estrogen that binds cells. The goal, so that cancer does not grow and divide. According to research, taking tamoxifen for 5 to 10 years can prolong life. Breast cancer also tends not to recur again.
Toremifene, recommended for patients who have taken Tamoxifen but the results are not satisfactory. This type of drug is only approved to treat breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.
Fulvestrant, usually used to treat advanced breast cancer.
Aromatase inhibitors (Als)
This drug is used to prevent fat tissue from producing estrogen but does not prevent estrogen production from the ovaries. So AIs are considered effective only for postmenopausal women.
Then the second, the type of hormone therapy in the form of drugs or surgery to stop the production of hormones from the ovaries, for example:
Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormones (LHRH)
This drug is given to stop the production of the hormone estrogen from the ovary. Menstruation will stop during this treatment.
This type of hormone therapy can be an option for women who have not yet experienced menopause. Ovarian ablation is done by lifting or closing the ovaries so that estrogen production stops.
Under certain conditions, the two types of hormone therapy can be combined. It should be noted, to be effective this therapy must affect hormone levels in the body, so that it can affect the menstrual cycle. Especially for those who get treatment to stop the production of hormones, will experience menopause.
In addition to influencing menstruation, hormone therapy can also cause side effects, such as vaginal discharge, vaginal irritation, hot face, nausea, fatigue, and muscle and joint pain.
Therefore, before hormone therapy for breast cancer, discuss it thoroughly with your doctor. Make sure you really understand how hormone therapy works and the effects that it may cause. So that this treatment can run effectively and efficiently.