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Making the Decision to Have Hormone Therapy for Breast Cancer

Hormone therapy is usually given in addition to another treatment. It’s given only if tests show that your cancer depends on certain hormones to grow. When you get it depends on the stage of your cancer. Here’s a list of the stages of cancer that can be treated with hormones and when it would be given:

  • As prevention, to lower your chance of developing breast cancer if you have lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) or are otherwise at high risk. This may be the case even if you were treated successfully for breast cancer years before hormone therapy was available.

  • As neoadjuvant therapy, meaning before surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy, to shrink the tumor. May be done for Stage II breast cancer that involves a large tumor.

  • As an adjuvant therapy, meaning after another type of treatment, if you have ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) or Stage I, II, or III breast cancer, and to help keep the cancer from returning after treatment.

  • To slow down the spread of metastatic (Stage IV) breast cancer and recurrent breast cancer (cancer that comes back after treatment). 

You should discuss all your options, as well as the benefits and risks, with your doctor.

Online Medical Reviewer: Freeborn, Donna, PhD, CNM, FNP
Online Medical Reviewer: newMentor board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Date Last Reviewed: 9/6/2013
© 2013 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare provider's instructions.
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