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Hormone therapy

You might have hormone therapy for advanced womb cancer.

Hormones are substances that occur naturally in the body. They control the growth and activity of our cells. The female sex hormones, oestrogen and progesterone, can affect growth of the cells in the womb lining.


Doctors use progesterone mainly to treat stage 3 and 4 womb cancers. The most commonly used types of progesterone are called medroxyprogesterone acetate (Provera) and megestrol (Megace). You take these as tablets.

You might have hormone therapy if you are not well enough to have surgery or radiotherapy.

Hormone therapy for endometrial stromal sarcoma

For a type of womb cancer called endometrial stromal sarcoma, hormonal treatments can work well.

These include:

  • letrozole (Femara)
  • megestrol acetate (Megace)
  • medroxyprogesterone (Provera)

Possible side effects of hormonal therapy

The main side effects associated with hormone therapy for womb cancer are:

  • water retention
  • weight gain (caused by water retention)
  • breast discomfort
  • tiredness
  • feeling sick
  • loss of desire for sex

Most people only have one or two of these side effects. If you have side effects, tell your nurse or doctor. They might be able to help.

Last reviewed: 
07 Feb 2020
Next review due: 
10 Feb 2023
  • ESMO-ESGO-ESTRO Consensus Conference on Endometrial Cancer: diagnosis, treatment and follow-up

    N Columbo and others (2016) 

    Annals of Oncology 27: 16–41

  • BGCS Uterine Cancer Guidelines: Recommendations for Practice 

    S Sundar and others (2017) 

    British Gynaecological cancer society 

  • Hormonal therapy in advanced or recurrent endometrial cancer.
    F Kokka F, E Brockbank, D Oram and others
    The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2010, Volume 12

  • Phase II study of medroxyprogesterone acetate plus metformin as a fertility-sparing treatment for atypical endometrial hyperplasia and endometrial cancer

    A Mitsuhashi and others (2016) 

    Annals of oncology Feb;27(2):262-6