What is Hormone Therapy

Hormone Therapy San Diego stops the growth of hormone-sensitive cancers by blocking or interfering with hormone production or effects. It is given by pill or injection and can be taken at home or in a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital.

Feminizing hormone therapy usually starts with a drug called spironolactone (Aldactone). This blocks male sex hormone receptors and lowers the amount of testosterone the body makes.

Some breast cancers grow in response to hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. These are called hormone-sensitive breast cancers. If a sample of your cancer cells tests positive for these receptors, you may be recommended hormonal therapy.

Hormone therapy can help reduce your chance of the cancer coming back in the breast or nearby lymph nodes after treatment. It’s often given in combination with other types of active treatment such as surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation. It’s also used to lower the risk of getting breast cancer in the first place, which is called chemoprevention.

Doctors use several hormone-lowering drugs to treat hormone-sensitive breast cancer, and the type of drug you get depends on your pathology results. These drugs can include SERMs (selective estrogen receptor modulators) or AIs (aromatase inhibitors). SERMs block the body’s natural estrogen from attaching to breast cancer cells and causing them to grow. They’re usually given to premenopausal women. AIs reduce the amount of estrogen made by the ovaries, so they starve breast cancer cells of their food supply. They’re usually given to postmenopausal women.

These drugs can be taken as pills or by injection, depending on your doctor’s recommendation. Both are covered by your health insurance plan under its prescription drug benefit. Generally, your doctor will prescribe generic versions of these drugs which cost less than name brands. You can learn about programs that help with drug costs at many cancer centers and other community organizations.

Hormone therapy can be given before surgery to shrink the tumor and make it easier to remove (neo adjuvant therapy). It’s also used after breast cancer surgery to lower your chances of the cancer coming back in the other breast or in other parts of the body, which is known as recurrence. It can also be used to lower the risk of a second cancer developing in women who have had ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). These are the small, non-cancerous lumps that doctors commonly find in the lobes of the breasts. Whether or not hormone therapy is given after surgery depends on your pathology results, how far the cancer has spread, and your personal preferences.

Prostate cancer

Prostate cancer develops when certain cells in the prostate gland change. These cells may be normal or they can become cancerous (high grade). Nearly 50% of men over the age of 50 have these changes, which are called prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN). Most PIN is not cancer and does not grow or spread. Nonetheless, it is important to talk with your doctor about these changes to understand your risk and whether treatment is right for you.

Most people with stage II or III prostate cancer can be cured by treatment that includes surgery, radiation or hormone therapy. Hormone therapy stops the cancer from getting the testosterone that it needs to grow and spread. It also helps control PSA levels and reduces the pain from bone damage caused by the cancer.

If you have hormone therapy, you will need to go for regular check-ups, including a PSA test. This is a blood test that checks for the presence of prostate-specific antigens, or PSA. Your doctor will tell you how often you need to have this test and what the results mean.

Some people who have hormone therapy experience side effects that can be hard to cope with. These can affect your relationships with family and friends, and how you feel about yourself. For example, some men have night sweats and others lose their erectile function. This can be distressing, especially if it happens soon after you are diagnosed with prostate cancer.

In some cases, a course of hormone therapy can be given before the main treatment for prostate cancer to shrink the tumour and make it easier to treat with surgery or radiation. This is called neoadjuvant (nee-oh-aj-uhvuhnt) hormone therapy or pre-therapy.

Newer types of hormone therapy can be used if the cancer hasn’t responded to first line hormone therapies or has spread beyond the prostate. These medications include abiraterone (Zytiga), enzalutamide (Xtandi) and apalutamide (Erleada). Another type of hormone therapy is the androgen receptor antagonists, which block the receptors that prostate cancer cells need to grow. These medications are taken by mouth and may be given in combination with other forms of hormone therapy or on their own.

Other types of cancer

Hormones are chemicals that travel in the blood and control how some cells and organs act and grow. They are produced naturally by glands in the body or made in a lab. Some types of cancer may need hormones to grow, and hormone therapy can help stop or slow the growth of these cancer cells.

Cancers that need hormones to grow are called endocrine cancers. Breast and prostate cancer are examples of endocrine cancers. Hormone therapy can be used to treat these cancers by adding, blocking or removing hormones. This type of treatment can be given alone or with other treatments, such as surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy. It can also be used before other treatments to shrink a tumor and make it easier to remove or to give radiation to a smaller area.

Some cancers are sensitive to estrogen (ER positive) or progesterone (PR positive). If a person has a breast or prostate cancer that is sensitive to hormones, hormone therapy can decrease the risk of it coming back after other treatments. It can also be used to reduce the chances of cancer spreading from one part of the body to another part after treatment (local recurrence or metastatic).

A type of hormone therapy that blocks estrogen and progesterone is called aromatase inhibitors. These medicines are given in pill form to women who have not yet gone through menopause, and in the form of injections to post-menopausal women. They are often given with surgery to remove the ovaries, or with radiation therapy aimed at the ovaries. The medications include tamoxifen, letrozole and anastrozole.

Hormone therapy can be given for a set time or until the PSA level is very low. It might be stopped at this point if it is working and there is no longer any risk of the cancer coming back or getting worse. Some people might decide to start taking the hormone therapy medicine again later, and this is called intermittent dosing. Early research suggests that this method might lower the risk of side effects without reducing long-term survival. Talk with your health care team about the pros and cons of this approach.


Injections are an effective delivery method for many medications. They can be used for vaccines, antibiotics and hormones. The type of injection and the location of the injection site determines how quickly the medication is absorbed into the body. It is also important to use proper injection technique in order to avoid any nerve damage or leakage of medication outside the injected area.

Hormone therapy injections raise your natural hormone levels and can help alleviate symptoms such as low mood, loss of interest in activities or changes to sleep patterns and appetite. It is important to tell your doctor if you experience these symptoms as early on as possible, so they can advise you on the best way to manage them.

There are several different types of injections, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. The location of the injection site, the patient’s condition and treatment objectives will influence the appropriate method of administration for each medication.

Intramuscular injections deliver medication quickly into a person’s muscle tissue and can be employed for vaccines, antibiotics or hormones. They are normally given in the upper outer quadrant of the buttocks, although they can be administered in other areas such as the tummy or the arm. It is important to vary the locations of injections so that each area is not overused, which can cause pain and numbness at the injection site.

Subcutaneous (SC) injections are injected into the inner layer of the skin called the hypodermis or subcutis, which has a relatively poor supply of blood vessels and therefore, absorbs medications more slowly than an intramuscular (IM) injection.

For subcutaneous injections, first pinch the skin between your thumb and index finger. This pulls the fatty tissue away, making it easier to inject the medicine into the muscle beneath. Using the tip of your needle, make a small hole in the pinched skin and insert the needle. Once the injection is complete, withdraw the needle and discard it in a puncture-resistant sharps container. Apply a piece of gauze to the injection site, and lightly press down to ensure that any bleeding is minimal.