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Hormone therapy

You might have hormone therapy if your cancer cells have hormone receptors. Find out what hormone therapy is, how you have it and the general side effects.

What it is

Hormones are substances that occur naturally in the body. They control the growth and activity of cells.

Some cancer cells have hormone receptors. Hormones can bind to these receptors and trigger the cancer to grow.

Hormone therapy works by lowering the amount of hormones in the body, or by blocking the receptors on the cells. 

Why you have it

Your doctor is most likely to give you hormone therapy if the tests on your cancer cells (from the biopsy sample) show hormone receptors. Cancers that have hormone receptors include:

  • breast cancer
  • prostate cancer
  • womb cancer
  • kidney cancer

Hormone therapy can help to control the growth of the cancer, and relieve symptoms. Your doctor will talk to you about your treatment and why they have suggested hormone therapy.

How you have it

You usually have hormone therapy as tablets or injections. Your doctor or nurse will tell you more about this.

Side effects

Hormone therapy does not usually cause bad side effects. The side effects vary depending on the particular hormone therapy drug you have.

General side effects include:

  • tiredness
  • headaches
  • feeling sick (nausea)
  • joint pain

You can read about the most common side effects in men and women in our hormone therapy section.

Information and help

Dangoor sponsorship

About Cancer generously supported by Dangoor Education since 2010.