Hormone Therapy

Hormone therapy is sometimes used after surgery to decrease the change of the cancer returning or after it has already spread to shrink and contain it. This therapy is recommended for women who have a type of breast cancer that is sensitive to hormones—estrogen receptor positive (ER positive) and progesterone receptor positive (PR positive ) cancers. There are three primary ways to block hormones:

Medicines that block hormones from attaching to cells: Tamoxifen is the most commonly used drug to block estrogen from attaching to an estrogen receptor in cancer cells, which slows the growth and can kill cancer cells. This drug can be used in both pre- and post-menopausal women.

Side Effects

  • Fatigue
  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Cataracts
  • Blood clots
  • Stroke
  • Uterine cancer

Medicines that stop the production of estrogen after menopause, such as a group of drugs called aromatase inhibitors that block the action of an enzyme that converts androgens in the body to estrogen.

Side Effects

  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Bone thinning or osteoporosis

Medicines or surgery that stops hormone production in the ovaries for premenopausal women. Additionally some women can have surgery in the form of prophylactic oophorectomy to surgically stop hormone production.

Spotlight

Hear from Dr. Anil Sood, the Foundation’s Research Chairman, and Carol Brown, 2014 SGO Program Chair, about research of interest to women and the public presented at the 2014 SGO Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer. Watch the video

Awareness

A new SGO Clinical Practice Statement states women diagnosed with epithelial ovarian, tubal, and peritoneal cancers should be considered for genetic counseling and testing, even in the absence of a family history.

Education

The next Gynecologic Cancer Survivors Course Friday, May 2, 2014 in Long Island, NY. For more information on courses, click here.