Hormone Therapy Cancer Treatments

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Hormones help control how your body works. Glands and organs in your body make different types of hormones. Some cancers need a hormone to grow. Hormone therapy cancer treatments change your hormones to stop cancer.

How Hormone Therapy Cancer Treatments Work

We can stop or slow cancer growth by changing the hormones in your body. This can:

  • Stop your body from making the hormone
  • Block the hormone from attaching to cancer cells
  • Altering the hormone so it doesn’t work anymore

Hormone therapy cancer treatment comes in the form of a pill or injection. The medicine travels around your body until it finds its target.

Hormone therapy can treat cancers of the:

  • Breast
  • Prostate
  • Uterus lining
  • Adrenal glands

Hormone therapy comes in the form of a pill or injections. You might also need surgery to take out glands that make cancer-promoting hormones.

Hormone Therapy Side Effects

Hormone therapy can cause a number of side effects. If you’re concerned about fertility and safety issues, or if you’re taking transgender hormone therapy, talk to your provider.

Men taking hormone therapy for cancer may experience:

  • Hot flashes
  • Decreased sexual desire
  • Erectile dysfunction (trouble getting an erection)
  • Bone loss and a higher risk for fractures
  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain (especially around the belly) with decreased muscle mass
  • Memory problems
  • Increased risk of other health problems

Women taking hormone therapy might get:

  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal discharge, dryness, or irritation
  • Decreased sexual desire
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Pain in muscles and joints
  • Bone loss and a higher risk for fractures
  • Higher risk of other types of cancer, stroke, blood clots, cataracts, and heart disease