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Hormone Therapy

Blood cells

Hormone therapy, most commonly used in the treatment of breast and prostate cancers, works to add, block, or remove hormones from the body to slow or stop the growth of cancer cells.

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Hormones are substances produced by glands in the body and circulated in the bloodstream. Many types of cancer require hormones for growth. Tests can be done to determine if cancer cells have hormone receptors (places where hormones can attach). Hormone therapy is a form of systemic therapy that works to add, block, or remove hormones from the body to slow or stop the growth of cancer cells.

Hormone therapy is most commonly used in the treatment of breast and prostate cancers.

Breast Cancer

The female hormones estrogen and progesterone can promote the growth of some breast cancer cells. Hormone therapy can block the body's naturally occurring estrogen and fight the cancer's growth.

Prostate Cancer

In prostate cancer, the male sex hormone, testosterone, can cause prostate cancer to grow. Hormone therapy can be an effective method of reducing the production of male hormones or blocking them from working.

For more information about Hormone Therapy, go to:

American Cancer Society:  www.cancer.org
Breast Cancer.org:  http://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/hormonal/what_is.jsp
Prostate Cancer Treatment Guide:  http://www.prostate-cancer.com/hormone-therapy/treatment-description/hormone-description.html
National Cancer Institute:
http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/breast/Patient/page5
http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/prostate/Patient/page4