Stopping the hormones that help cancers grow.
How hormone therapy works
Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers, produced by your glands to help with growth and development. These hormones can sometimes help cancer cells grow. Hormone therapy is a treatment for cancer that slows or stops the growth of cancer by blocking or interfering with these hormones.
Hormone therapy is sometimes also called hormone treatment or endocrine therapy. It is not an option for all cancers, and is primarily used to treat breast, prostate, ovarian and uterine cancers
Meet our providers
Our cancer specialists work closely together to deliver the latest treatments based on your needs. Learn more about the medical oncology team.
For ovarian or uterine cancer care, learn more about the gynecologic oncology team.
What to expect during treatment
Hormone therapy is used in two ways: to treat cancer and/or to ease symptoms. It is most often used along with other cancer treatments to:
- Make a tumor smaller before surgery or radiation therapy, called “neo-adjuvant therapy”
- Lower the risk of cancer coming back after the main treatment, called “adjuvant therapy”
- Destroy cancer cells that have returned or spread to other parts of the body
Hormone therapy is most commonly given as pills taken orally. Treatments are given at your doctor’s office.
What happens next
Many cancer treatments can cause challenging side effects. Hormone therapy for women may cause side effects that are similar to the symptoms of menopause. Men may also experience side effects caused by the decrease in male hormones.
Hormone therapy affects different people in different ways. How you may feel depends on what type of drugs you are receiving, what kind of cancer you have and how advanced it is.Your cancer team is dedicated to helping you manage these issues in the best ways possible.
While receiving hormone therapy, you continue to regularly meet with your Legacy Cancer Institute doctor to monitor your progress. If you are being treated for prostate cancer, you have regular PSA tests. If you are being treated for breast cancer, you have regular mammograms or other imaging tests. If you are being treated for ovarian or uterine cancer you will have regular exams and imaging tests.
Working together for you
Our cancer experts work together with a common goal: delivering the right care for you.
A range of specialists collaborate regularly in meetings called tumor boards to discuss the best plan for your care. Your treatment plan is made just for you, depending on your general health, your age, your particular cancer and its growth.
You are not alone. Legacy offers support throughout your cancer journey, as well as care for your emotional, social and spiritual needs.
National Cancer Institute: Hormone therapy for breast cancer