Hormonal intervention is used if you have an oestrogen positive tumour to block oestrogen production in the body. Different tablets work on different pathways used in the production of oestrogen and the type best suited for you will be chosen according to:

  • Menopausal stage
  • Breast cancer stage
  • HER2 status and Ki67
  • Bone density
  • History, if any, of blood clots
  • History, if any, of arthritis
  • Personal risk of uterine and ovarian cancer

Side effects

Treatment may include the use of anti-oestrogen drugs for example. Tamoxifen, Arimidex, Aromasin, Femara, Faslodex and Zoladex injections.

Hormone Suppressor Medication

Aromatase Inhibitors (AI)

AI’s decrease the circulating oestrogen in a woman’s body by preventing the aromatase enzyme from converting androgen (androstenedione and testosterone) into oestrogen (oestrone and oestradiol), which is the principal source of oestrogen for post-menopausal women. These drugs should only be prescribed to women who are post-menopausal. The three main aromatase inhibitors are Arimidex (anastrozole), Femara (letrazole_ and Aromasin (exemestane)

Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERMS)

SERMS, such as Nolvadex (tamoxfien) and Evista (raloxifene) are synthetic hormones that bind to the oestrogen receptors in a woman’s breast cells in place of her own oestrogen. SERMS ‘fake out’ the oestrogen receptors because, unlike natural oestrogen, they do not stimulate breast cell growth.

You may be on the treatment for five years or more. Possible side-effects of taking the above treatment include:

  • Hot flushes
  • Joint pain/stiffness
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Hair thinning
  • Thromboembolism
  • Rash
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Weight gain
  • Dizziness

End of Treatment – Our Tips

  • The end of the treatment is often an anti-climax
  • Be kind to yourself during this time. Don’t expect to feel great about everything
  • Go at your own pace and give yourself the space to come to terms with all you have been through and what lies ahead
  • It can be difficult, but try to listen to your feelings and accept them as they happen
  • It is better not to ignore negative thoughts but to try to work through them with the necessary support
  • Most cancer survivors say that they do feel better with time. But it usually doesn’t happen overnight, so don’t expect too much from yourself too soon. However, focus on regaining some normality in your life.