Breast Cancer Hormone Therapy
Breast cancer hormone therapy is effective if cancer cells are sensitive to hormones. For this, an immunohistochemical examination is performed. Using a biopsy, a particle of the affected tissue is taken to determine the amount of hormonal receptors. The detection of estrogen and progestin-positive confirms the presence of cancer cells that have ceased to divide. For their dying off and hormone therapy is applied. This method of treatment has a systemic effect on the body, in some cases is used as a priority treatment for breast cancer in women.
Therapy is prescribed:
- In order to eliminate the remaining pathological segments after surgery and irradiation.
- Before surgery to reduce the size of the original focus.
- To prevent the appearance of pathology in another mammary gland, reduce pain.
- As part of a combined treatment for relapse or a locally advanced form of the disease.
- Women at risk of hereditary predisposition.
Types of hormone therapy
Depending on the type of hormonal and anti-hormonal drugs, they block and prevent development of tumor cells, are designed to stop or enhance the production of female genital hormones. In medicine, 2 types of hormonal therapy are used:
- Prophylactic (adjuvant).
Indications for hormone therapy:
- presence of metastases;
- compaction after surgery;
- large tumor size;
- growth of the tumor in the absence of an increase in the growth of cancer cells.
What drugs are used?
Depending on the ovarian cycle (the presence of menstruation, menopause or postmenopause), the procedure and treatment scheme varies.
- Aromatase blockers are prescribed at an early and late stage of the disease at any time after the removal of the breast tumor. The effect is observed in patients in postmenopausal women. The drug interferes with the production of estrogen by inhibiting the enzyme aromatase, prevents the growth and division of tumor cells.
- "Tamoxifen "Raloxifene" or "Toremifene" is prescribed to women of any age at all stages of the disease before and after the operation. The drug prevents the entry of estrogen to cancer cells. Long-term treatment reduces the possibility of recurrence of pathology and neoplasms.
- "Faslodex" is assigned when the first two methods were not effective. The drug, connecting with the receptors of estrogen, blocks their development. As a result, tumor cells do not grow.
- Effects on the ovaries medically, with the help of surgical intervention (ovariectomy) or irradiation with radiation.
This type of treatment for breast cancer is used regularly from 2 to 5 years (sometimes treatment is more than 5 years). The treatment regimens are developed individually for each patient, based on the clinical picture, the severity of the disease, the overall health status, and the stage of tumor development. In younger patients, menopausal at least 10 years of age and in menopause, hormone begins a week after the end of the postoperative period (after ovariectomy). Treatment takes place for 5 years. For the purpose of prevention, it is recommended to carry out therapy for three years.
Hormonal therapy for metastatic breast cancer of the 4th stage
As a rule, metastatic cancer occurs 3-5 years later in the place of a tumor or in nearby tissues. Cancer of the 4th stage of the breast extends to the lymph nodes and peritoneum, the adrenal and ovaries, the lungs and the liver. More often localization of remote sites - bones (vertebrae, pelvis, humerus and femur and joints).
If the recurrent nodules are small enough excision. Multiple metastases are treated in a complex way: medicamentous and chemotherapy, hormone therapy, palliative surgery, targeted and palliative therapy. With small metastases in the lymph nodes after mastectomy (surgical intervention to remove the mammary glands), hormone therapy is considered as the main treatment measure. The reason for this - the process of dissemination, in which tumor cells spread in the body through the circulatory and / or lymphatic system.
Complications of this treatment for women
In each patient, the effects of hormone therapy are manifested in different ways (based on the prescribed treatment regimen, the onset of menopause and the state of the body). The symptoms of side effects during therapy vary. A common complication is stopping the menstrual cycle (a temporary or permanent phenomenon). If the age of menopause is approaching (51-52 years), with the treatment with hormones, an early manifestation is possible.
If MC before the treatment was normal, it will recover after the end of therapy. In cancer with metastases, effective treatment with hormone therapy is manifested by sudden burning sensations. Anesthetics help to cope with the side effect.
In addition, fatigue, sweating and hot flashes may occur. Low doses of antidepressants help cope with the problem.
Disturbance of the digestive tract (nausea, constipation or diarrhea), absence or increase in appetite, weight gain is found in 10% of women. If within 6 months of taking hormonal medications the patient did not gain weight, most likely there will be no weight gain. Nausea and vomiting occur after 2-3 weeks, to eliminate such side effects, antiemetic drugs are prescribed.
With depression, sharp mood swings the patient struggles with the help of psychotherapy and medications for soothing.
With timely consultation with the attending physician, recommendations are given for eliminating the consequences for improving the condition..