Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Treatment: Hormone Therapy – 2022

breast cancer

Breast Cancer Treatment: Hormone Therapy

Hormone therapy for breast cancer is actually anti-hormone therapy. This means the breast cancer cell is deprived of the hormone to stop its growth.

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Breast Cancer Treatment: Hormone Therapy

Hormone therapy for breast cancer is actually anti-hormone therapy. This means the breast cancer cell is deprived of the hormone to stop its growth.

This form of therapy can only be used if it has been determined that the breast cancer cells have so-called hormone receptors on their surface. This is the case for around 75 percent of all breast cancers. The female sex hormones, estrogen in particular, normally bind to these receptors. In the case of breast cancer, however, estrogen promotes tumor growth in the breast. In anti-hormonal therapy, the anti-estrogens occupy the hormone receptors and block them so that the estrogen cannot dock. Some anti-estrogens also ensure that hormone receptors are broken down.

Side effects of hormone therapy

Antihormone therapy for breast cancer can cause side effects that are very similar to the typical symptoms of menopause. This includes:

  • Hot flashes and sweats
  • nausea
  • sleep disorders
  • difficulty concentrating
  • Depressive moods
  • Vaginal bleeding and itching
  • Increased risk of developing thrombosis
  • Clouding of the lens of the eye (cataracts) in older people

Breast cancer treatment: Antibody therapy

Antibody therapy for breast cancer is part of targeted cancer therapy. This means that the active ingredients only fight the cancer cells and, unlike chemotherapy, spare the healthy body cells. Antibody therapy can prevent tumor growth in the breast in a number of ways. These include the following modes of action:

The antibodies block the growth receptors on the surface of the cancer cells.
The antibodies prevent new blood vessels from forming in the cancer cells, which the tumor needs to supply itself with nutrients. The tumor shrinks because it lacks the nutrients it needs to continue growing.
The antibodies are so small that they penetrate the cancer cells and occupy the inner part of the receptors. There they prevent the growth signal from being transmitted and prevent further cell division.

Breast cancer survival chances

Most breast cancer diagnoses are made in the early stages. Then the chance of being alive five years after the diagnosis is almost 100 percent. However, the chance of survival decreases as the disease progresses. If the diagnosis is not made until stage 4, this means that metastases are already present in other parts of the body. Then the 5-year chance of survival is only 29 percent.

Prognosis of breast cancer

In a medical context, a prognosis is a prediction of how the disease is likely to progress. The prognosis for breast cancer essentially depends on how aggressively the tumor grows, whether and where secondary ulcers (so-called metastases) have formed at the time of diagnosis. Bone and skin metastases have a better prognosis compared to lung, brain, or liver metastases.

Breast cancer recurrence/relapse rate

Breast cancer can recur long after treatment has ended. When the cancer comes back, it’s called a recurrence. Ten years after breast-conserving surgery and radiotherapy, five to ten percent of those affected relapse. If the breast cancer is then in the same breast as in the case of the first disease and has not yet spread further, this is called “local recurrence” in technical jargon. However, breast cancer can also form metastases in other parts of the body even after a long period of time. This is why regular follow-up visits are so important.

The time between the two cancers is important for the prognosis of a recurrence: the longer the time between the two diseases, the better the prognosis. A recurrence that occurs within the first two years of completing therapy has a poorer prognosis than a recurrence that occurs more than two years later.


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