Is Hormone Therapy necessary for invasive ductal breast cancer?
Treatments such as Chemotherapy, Targeted Therapies, and Hormonal Therapy are used to eliminate any cancer cells that may have spread out of the initial tumour, or to reduce the risk of the Invasive Ductal Cancer (IDC) coming back.
Hormones such as Estrogen and Progesterone are produced by glands in the body. These hormones help regulate different body cycles, like menstruation; but sometimes these same hormones can trigger cancer cell-growth.
If cancer shows positive results for the hormone receptors, a doctor will most likely advise a certain form of Hormonal Therapy. In some cases of advance-stage disease, Hormonal Therapy can be administered before surgery to help minimize the tumour. However, it’s more common for Hormonal Therapy to be used following other treatments, like Chemotherapy and/or Radiation Therapy.
When the breast cells have hormone receptors such as Estrogen or Progesterone or both, they can fasten themselves to those receptors and notify the cell to grow and divide. Many of the breast cancer cells have high numbers of receptors for Estrogen, Progesterone, or both. But if you take the hormone away or block it, the cancer cells do not receive the orders to grow and divide and are very unlikely to survive.
Hormonal therapy, also known as the Anti-Estrogen Therapy, works by decreasing the amount of Estrogen in the body or completely blocking it, preventing the Breast Cancer cells to grow.
Types of Hormonal Therapy
The following two types of Hormonal Therapy are most commonly used:
- Selective Estrogen-Receptor Response Modulators (SERMs): The most renowned SERM is Tamoxifen. Tamoxifen acts like Estrogen and fastens itself to the receptors on the breast cancer cells, replacing the real Estrogen. As a result, the cells don’t receive the signal to grow. Some other examples of SERMs are Raloxifene and Toremifene(Chemical Names). Tamoxifen can be used to treat pre and postmenopausal women equally.
Aromatase Inhibitors: The Aromatase Inhibitors decrease the quantity of Estrogen your body produces. Aromatase Inhibitors are generally used to cure postmenopausal women, but it can also be used to treat premenopausal women, who are also taking medications to shut their ovaries down.