Within the last few years the spotlight has been put on the importance breast cancer screening, and there has also been greater focus on preventative treatments such as hormone therapy. But just how effective is it and how can hormone therapy help cut down the risk of developing breast cancer?
How Hormone Therapy Helps Reduces Breast Cancer Risk
When linked to breast cancer treatment, hormone therapy works by interrupting the body’s normal hormone action. This is especially beneficial in preventing the growth of tumors that are hormone sensitive.
Estrogen is an important hormone in female reproduction and sexual function, but it can also stimulate the growth of some breast cancer cells. Hormone sensitive tumors have hormone receptors within them, which are proteins that are activated when they come in contact with hormones such as estrogen. This linking can cause the breast cancer cells to multiply, and the tumors therefore become larger.
Hormone therapy reduces the risk of developing breast cancer, as it blocks the effects of estrogen. It also lowers the amount of estrogen present in the body. Consequently, the tumors that have the receptors for the hormone estrogen are unable to grow, as the hormone therapy drugs inhibit the production of estrogen.
This type of treatment is more effective for women that have had estrogen positive (ER-positive)tumors, as it prevents them from recurring. It is also used as an effective treatment for women who have a high risk of developing breast cancer.