Tests and treatments
What is it?
For approximately 60-70% of the different types of breast cancer, growth is stimulated by the presence of natural feminine hormones. If that is the case, then there is a hormone receptor-positive cancer, namely oestrogen or progesterone-sensitive cancer. Hormone therapy is used to stop the hormones from being transmitted to the cancer cells, which results in arrested growth or the dying off of the cancer cells. Hormone therapy is generally well tolerated.
For premenopausal women (women who still have regular menstrual periods), Tamoxifen® is the most common medication that is used to block the effect of oestrogen on the cancer and thus stop the cancer's growth. Tamoxifen® is a pill taken orally everyday. Another medication for pre-menopausal women is GnRH-analogue or a gonadotrophin-releasing hormone. It suppresses hormone production in the ovaries while it is being administered. This medication as a monthly injection.
For post-menopausal women, another hormonal medication in addition to Tamoxifen®. These work in a different way than Tamoxifen® does. They influence the production of oestrogen in the body. After menopause, the ovaries are no longer active and oestrogen is produced in other areas of the body. That process is blocked by another group of medications, known as aromatase blockers.
Centres and specialist areas
Latest publication date: 05/02/2021
Supervising author: Dr Elzo Kraemer Ximena