About Hormonal Therapy
This information is intended for general information only and should not be considered as medical advice on the part of Health-Tourism.com. Any decision on medical treatments, after-care or recovery should be done solely upon proper consultation and advice of a qualified physician.
What are hormones?
Hormones are your body’s special chemical messengers which are created in the endocrine glands. The endocrine glands include glands such as the pancreas, thyroid, and testes in men and ovaries in women.
What is hormonal therapy?
Hormone therapy is a kind of treatment that works by adding, removing or blocking hormones from the body to stop or slow the growth of cancer cells. Cancers such as breast cancer and prostate cancer can be encouraged by hormones. However, sometimes the same hormones can slow, stop or kill the cancer cells. Hormone therapy involves using medications that prevent the cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to grow. Hormone therapy may be combined with other cancer treatments, such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
How hormone therapy works
Some cancers are hormone dependent or hormone sensitive, which implies that they need the hormones to grow and develop. Understanding the role of hormones is key to protecting and managing health. Hormone therapies can slow down or completely stop the growth of cancer by preventing the hormones from making the cancer cells grow and multiply or by stopping the hormones from being made.
Types of hormone therapy
Factors that influence the type of hormone therapy you get include age, type of tumor, the size of tumor and presence of hormone receptors on the tumor. The type of cancer you have is a factor used to determine the type of hormone therapy you will require:
- Breast cancer hormone therapy
- Womb cancer hormone therapy
- Ovarian cancer hormone therapy
- Prostate cancer hormone therapy
- Kidney cancer hormone therapy
- Thyroid cancer hormone therapy
Side effects of hormone therapy
While undergoing hormone therapy, you may experience some side effects which will depend on the type of hormone therapy you are receiving. The following include the general side effects that you may experience:
Weight gain: This can be controlled with exercise and diet changes.
Headaches: This side effect may occur but taking mild pain medication can help.
Memory problems: Your memory may get worse but writing down lists may help.
Tiredness: When you are taking hormone therapy you may experience fatigue.
Digestive system problems: You may experience nausea and your doctor may prescribe anti-nausea tablets. Constipation and diarrhea may also occur. In addition, you may lose or increase your appetite.
Menopausal symptoms: These include hot flushes, vaginal dryness, and low libido.
Thinning of the hair: This may occur although it may not be noticeable to other people.
Bone and muscle change: You may develop joint and muscle pain. Your bones may also thin and this may lead to osteoporosis.
Mood swings and depression: If hormone therapy gives you depression and mood swings you may be advice to talk to a counselor.
Blood clots: Some hormone therapy drugs may increase the risks of blood clots forming in the lower legs veins.
Erectile dysfunction: This is common in men getting hormone therapy for prostate cancer. This may be temporary or permanent.
Hot flushes and sweating: This may be troublesome but get better with time.
Breast tenderness: Breast tissue can be swollen and painful.
Learn more about Hormonal Therapy