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Hormone or Endocrine Therapy

What is hormone therapy?

Hormone therapy represents another type of systemic cancer treatment. Hormones are chemicals that the body produces naturally such as testosterone, estrogen and progesterone. These chemicals signal for certain actions such as growth and division of different cells in the body.

How does hormone therapy work?

For a hormone to exert its effects on a cell, the cell must carry a specific protein or receptor on its surface. When that particular hormone is circulating near the receptor, it will bind to the receptor, sending a signal to the cell. In many cases, the presence of the hormones and the subsequent binding to the hormone receptors stimulates the cancer cells to grow. In general, hormone therapy works either to 1) lower the amount of hormone available to bind to the receptors or 2) prevent the hormones from acting on the receptor, thereby minimizing the growth and spread of the cancer.

For what types of cancer is hormone therapy generally used?

Hormone therapy is frequently used in the treatment of prostate and breast cancers.