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Hormone therapy

Hormones are natural substances made by the glands of our endocrine system and released into the blood. They act as messengers to carry signals between one part of the body and another.

Whether you are likely to have changes in sex hormone levels depends on the type of cancer and the type of treatment you have.

What is hormone therapy?

Hormone therapies are treatments for cancer that use hormones, or drugs that block hormones.

Prostate cancer is the most common men's cancer to be treated with hormones. Testosterone can stimulate the growth of prostate cancer cells. So you may have treatment to block testosterone from working, or to stop your body producing it. 

Rarely, men are diagnosed with breast cancer. You may have hormone therapy for this.

Side effects

If you are having hormone treatment for prostate or breast cancer you may have some side effects such as:

  • having less interest in sex
  • not being able to have an erection
  • hot flushes and sweats
  • loss of energy, feeling sluggish

If flushes and sweats are a real problem, you may want to talk to your doctor about ways to reduce the number and severity of the attacks you are having.

Help and support

These changes and the emotions it brings can be difficult to cope with. It might help to talk to a partner, relative or friend. Let your nurse, specialist or GP know how you feeling. They can let you know what help and support is available in your treatment centre or in your area. 

Some people choose to to talk things through with a counsellor or therapist. Or you could contact some of the organisations that offer support and information about relationships and sexuality.

Last reviewed: 
02 Aug 2018
  • Man cancer sex

    Katz, A (2010) 

    Hygeia Media

  • Cancer and its Management (6th Edition)
    JS Tobias and D Hochhauser 
    Wiley-Blackwell, 2010

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