Some cancers ‘feed’ on male or female hormones to grow, such as certain types of breast cancer (hormone receptor-positive breast cancers), uterine cancers and the majority of prostate cancers. Hormone therapy (also known as endocrine therapy) focuses on depriving cancer cells of the specific hormones that feed them. Hormone therapy is given in the form of oral tablets, injections under the skin (subcutaneous injections) or injections into the muscle (intramuscular injections).
It is usually used alongside other cancer treatments, with the goal of:
- Shrinking the size of cancerous tumours before surgery or radiation therapy
- Reducing the risk of cancer recurrence following treatment
- Controlling or slowing the growth of cancer that has spread
- Reducing the impact of cancer symptoms