What is hormone therapy?

Published on : 05 April 20223 min reading time

In the fight against cancer, doctors use various treatments such as chemotherapy or hormone therapy. Hormone therapy treats the whole body and has been shown to reduce the mortality rate from cancer. To understand hormone therapy, it is necessary to give a concrete definition, to know its principles on its field of action and its effectiveness.

How is hormone therapy defined?

Hormone therapy is defined as all therapeutic treatments of hormones. Hormones promote the development of cancer cells. Hormone therapy is a treatment that consists of blocking or modifying the production of hormones and creating an unfavourable environment to eradicate them. This treatment therefore inhibits the growth of cancer such as prostate cancer or breast cancer. These tumours are hormone-sensitive, i.e. the growth of these cells is favoured by hormones, hence their treatment. There are two types of hormone therapy: drug and non-drug treatments. The first is treatment with systemic drugs and the other is surgery or radiotherapy, which is less commonly used by doctors. This leads to the conclusion that hormone therapy is generally made up of drug treatments.

When and at what stage for hormone therapy?

The doctor may propose hormone therapy to the patient following the failure of other treatments or when the patient cannot undergo surgery. This is done after several tests and/or an ultrasound scan have been carried out. The average duration of hormone therapy is five to ten years. It is often done after chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Hormone therapy is also offered as a complement to other treatments, to reduce the size of the tumour before an operation or to relieve and reduce pain in the final stages and metastasis. This treatment is also recommended to treat malignant tumours of the uterus or the kidney.

What about the effectiveness of hormone therapy?

Hormone therapy only treats the receptive hormones that develop the cancer cells. Long-term treatment has led to a cure for breast cancer. According to studies and observations, this treatment has reduced the risk of cancer recurrence as well as reducing the mortality rate and even reducing the risk of diabetes. The patient is less exposed to the dangers of other cancer treatments such as vomiting or diarrhoea. To date, hormone therapy remains the most effective therapeutic approach for cancer treatment.

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