When is hormone therapy used to treat breast cancer?

Hormone therapy is used to treat breast cancer in cancer that is fueled by estrogen and/or progesterone. For those people, medicines that block estrogen receptors are used to treat the cancer.

The number of deaths caused by breast cancer has declined significantly in recent years, due in large part to improved screenings and advancements in treatments. One such advancement is hormone therapy (different from hormone replacement therapy, used to treat menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes). Some breast cancers are sensitive to the female hormones estrogen and progesterone—they can fuel a cancer's growth. If it's determined that the cancer cells are hormone-sensitive, hormone therapy may be used. Hormone therapy is a type of adjuvant therapy—like radiation and chemotherapy—that may be used, in addition to surgery, to kill any cancer cells that may have spread.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.