Hormone therapy is fundamentally different from the hormone replacement therapy for menopause in some women. In addition, hormone replacement therapy in breast cancer can be very unsafe. Hormone therapy - this is a very effective treatment for hormone-positive breast tumors. Hormone therapy is sometimes called the anti-estrogenic therapy and is aimed at preventing the effects of the sex hormone estrogen on cancer cells.
Hormone (or anti-estrogenic) therapy is used in the case of hormone-positive (or hormone-dependent) breast cancer. Hormone therapy - this is a very effective treatment for hormone-positive breast tumors.
For a long time the only effective drug such antiestrogen therapy in breast cancer was tamoxifen. However, extensive clinical study in 2005 allowed the state to open a new and effective drugs of hormone therapy - aromatase inhibitors: Aromasin, Femara and that turned out to be much more effective than tamoxifen in the treatment of hormone-positive cancer in postmenopausal patients.
Currently, aromatase inhibitors accepted standard in the treatment of hormone-positive cancer in postmenopausal patients. At the same time, tamoxifen remains the drug of choice in premenopausal women.
Hormone therapy to its principle is similar to "insurance" after other methods of treatment: surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy, allowing you to reduce the risk of recurrence of breast cancer. After the treatment of cancer patient hopes that the tumor was completely destroyed. However, such an absolute guarantee can not provide one. Therefore, the appointment of hormonal therapy as a hedging woman from cancer recurrence. Hormone therapy is the so-called systemic therapy for cancer. This means that the preparations of hormone therapy have an impact on the entire body (as opposed to targeted therapy drugs). Hormone therapy drugs used to treat hormone-positive breast cancer or recurrence of the disease.
The aim of hormone therapy is to destroy cancer cells after primary surgical treatment, chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
For some patients with hormone-positive breast cancer hormone therapy plays just as important as the other treatments. In fact, hormone therapy may be even more effective chemotherapy. Depending on the specific situation of hormone therapy can be given alone or in combination with chemotherapy.
The effect of different methods of hormonal therapy aimed at achieving one goal - to reduce the action of estrogen on cancer. The mechanism of hormone therapy is aimed, therefore, to ensure that block the action of estrogen on the tumor. Hormone therapy may be aimed at blocking estrogen receptors, their destruction or to reduce estrogen in their blood. Each of these methods has its advantages and disadvantages.
Estrogen and progesterone - the female sex hormones - are in the blood and circulates throughout the body, affect both healthy cells and the tumor. In this case the hormone has an effect on specific organs and tissues using receptor. Receptors are molecular compounds. They are either on the cell surface either outside or inside. Their action can be likened to switch certain functions of cells. molecule hormones act on these receptors connecting with them as a key input into the keyhole. Thus, for each hormone has its own receptors on the surface of those cells to which the hormone to have an effect. That is, for example, the hormone progesterone will have no effect on cells that do not have its receptors, and is, for example, the estrogen receptors. The majority (75%) breast cancers are hormone-dependent, ie, estrogen and progesterone have a stimulating effect on these tumors. Without these hormones, such tumors can not grow. They decrease in size and eventually die.
Estrogen and progesterone themselves also play an important role in the formation of certain types of breast cancer:
Estrogen is a very important factor for the cells with estrogen receptors in many tissues and some breast tumors.
Progesterone can also be a contributing factor to cancer.
In cases where the cancer cells on the surface have little to estrogen receptors (as we have said - it is hormone-negative tumors), hormone therapy does not give any effect. However, if this in the tumor cells have progesterone receptors, the hormone therapy in this case can be effective. It should be emphasized that when cancer cells have progesterone receptors but does not have estrogen receptors, the chance that hormone therapy will be effective is 10%.
What is the effect of hormone therapy in your case?
If the research biopsy of the tumor or the sample taken after the operation revealed that the tumor is hormone-dependent, it is quite possible that the effect of hormone replacement therapy will be very good:
In the case of cancer cells to both estrogen and progesterone receptors, the efficacy of hormonal therapy will be 70%.
If the surface of cancer cells have only one type of receptor (ie, tumor Erts + / Pr or Erts-/Pr +) a chance on the effectiveness of hormone replacement therapy is 33%.
When the hormonal status of the tumor is unknown, the chance of the effectiveness of hormone therapy is only 10%.
Estrogen plays an important role in the woman's body. In addition, it regulates the menstrual cycle and affects the development of secondary sexual characteristics, it also affects the structure of bone tissue. But still, a chance to recover from breast cancer is vitally important than bone.
It should be noted that some studies that were conducted among older women with high bone density they have identified a higher risk of developing breast cancer. This led to the fact that among the patients there was an opinion that the family is thicker and stronger bones, the greater the risk of breast cancer. Relatively high levels of estrogen in the body has all of three effects: increases bone density, making them durable and increases the risk of breast cancer.