Hormone therapy for cancer is an extremely effective way of helping to control and cope with major forms of cancer. While it is seen as a modern procedure, it has a past that dates back to the mid-1900s when George Thomas Beatson successfully administered endocrine therapy to treat breast cancer.
While it’s been a long time since, and there have been some incredible breakthroughs in how cancer is being treated, many people still don’t completely understand hormonal therapy for cancer treatment, or how it can help to treat cancers of the breast, prostate, and womb.
Thanks to information from Birmingham Prostate Clinic, which offers hormone therapy in addition to other advanced treatment options.
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In this article are some of the key information regarding hormone therapy for prostate cancer and associated diseases.
Hormone Therapy Is Always Complimentary
In the absence of a better phrase, no patient will ever “go it alone” and be persuaded that hormone therapy is the only way to treat cancer. This therapy should always be part of a recovery plan and should cover one of the following functions:
- Stop the growth of a cancer
- Lower (or block) hormones in a specific area
- Prevent cancerous cells from dividing
For instance, someone with prostate cancer would want to reduce testosterone levels around the prostate because the cancer needs to use testosterone to develop. Testosterone lowering therapy will not stop cancer in its pathways, but will slow it down. This will support a patient enormously when it’s time for radiotherapy or chemotherapy.
Hormone Therapy Is Not For Everyone
Not all cancer can be treated with hormonal therapy. Usually, such treatments are reserved for breast, ovarian, prostate, and uterine cancer. It is important to note that not every cancer is going to benefit from hormone therapy. People with no previous experience are also seen as a straightforward road in a treatment plan.
Bear in mind that “therapy” is there for a cause. It will enhance and expand care rather than act as a stand-alone treatment.
Hormone Therapy Takes Many Forms
Two people may have similar types of breast cancer and start a course of hormone therapy for cancer. Still, knowledge and techniques may be very different.
Traditionally, hormone therapy for cancer is performed in one of two ways. The first is a daily course of tablets aimed at preventing the activity of a hormone, e.g. anyone taking a prostate cancer tablet would find their tablets restricting the development of testosterone. The second is by injection in the fatty region of your belly or limbs; the theory is that it is the best area to help drugs hit the target areas.
There is a third type of therapy that is not as common; surgery. It is typically reserved for situations where cancer/tumor is seen as a major issue. It will be in the best interest of the patient to have the hormone-creating organ extracted. For example, a male with a more aggressive type of prostate cancer might have one or both testicles removed to help reduce testosterone output completely. Ovaries can be removed from a female with ovarian cancer.
Hormone Therapy Affects Patients Differently
Any hormonal imbalance is going to have a huge effect on the body. There are a wide variety of side effects. The most common side effects would include:
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in muscles and bones
- Mood swings and hot flushes.
In certain cases, a person may also experience weight gain and hair thinning; these are typically more likely when someone is being treated for cancer at the same time as hormone therapy.
This is only a tiny snapshot of the role hormone therapy plays in cancer care. For more posts on cancer care, we recommend reading this article on the new cancer therapies and what men should know about prostate cancer.