Can Hormone Therapy Kill Cancer Cells?
Hormones are chemicals in your body made by different glands. They can act in different ways toward cancer cells. Sometimes, such as in the case of prostate cancer and breast cancer, they can help the cancer cells to grow. In other cases, they can slow down cancer cell growth, stop the cancer cells from growing or kill the cancer cells altogether.
Hormone therapy can be used as a form of cancer treatment. It involves taking medication that either blocks the activity of a particular hormone or stops the body from making that hormone altogether. Sometimes, it involves removing a hormone-making gland via surgery. Here are some more details about hormone therapy from The Healthy Choice compounding pharmacy.
How Does Hormone Therapy Work?
If you have cancer, it may be necessary to undergo a hormone receptor test. In a hormone receptor test, the cancerous tissue is tested to measure the quantity of hormone receptor proteins and determine how sensitive the cancer cells are to hormones. Hormones that are naturally occurring in your body and otherwise quite helpful can sometimes attach to the hormone receptor proteins and help the cancerous cells to grow.
If a hormone receptor test turns out positive, then the hormone is probably helping the tumor to grow, and hormone therapy will involve blocking the action of the hormone to keep it away from the cancerous tissue.
If the hormone receptor test turns out negative, then there is no danger posed by the hormone and other cancer treatments can be used.
There are many ways in which hormone therapy can be used if the hormone receptor test comes back positive. The cancer cells might be treated to block the hormones that help them grow, the glands might be treated to prevent them from making the hormone, the glands might be completely removed and so on. The specific type of hormone therapy that a cancer patient receives will depend on a number of factors, including their age, the presence of hormone receptors on the cancerous tissue and the type and size of the tumor.
Side Effects of Hormone Therapy
There are a variety of potential side effects that you might experience as a result of hormone therapy. These depend on the type of hormone therapy you are receiving and also your body in general. Everyone has a unique hormone therapy experience and so you should discuss the potential side effects with your health service provider.
The side effects may be absent, mild or severe, depending on the person receiving the hormone therapy as well as the type of hormone therapy. For example, for prostate cancer, these are some of the side effects that you might experience:
- Hot flashes
- Make breast enlargement
- A loss of libido and sexual desire
- Lower bone density
- Lower muscle mass
For breast cancer, some of the side effects experienced from hormone therapy medications like tamoxifen mimic the symptoms of menopause in some women. Other women do not feel the side effects at all. Some of the side effects include the ones below:
- Hot flashes
- Irregular periods
- Skin rashes
- Mood changes
- Weight gain
- Vaginal dryness
- Irritation or itching of the skin around the vagina
Whether or not hormone therapy is good for you can only be determined by having a conversation with your doctor and taking the hormone receptor test. It is one of the helpful cancer treatments out there and might be the answer to your problems.