Endometrial cancer arises in the uterine mucosa. Since the development and spread of endometrial cancer largely depends on the presence of estrogen in the body, hormone therapy is usually prescribed after surgery to reduce the likelihood of future cancer recurrence.
Age is a risk factor for endometrial cancer, according to MedlinePlus. In most cases, the disease affects women between the ages of 60 and 70, with cases affecting people under the age of 40 being extremely rare. Symptoms include abnormal or excessive bleeding, lower abdominal pain, or whitish vaginal discharge that occurs after menopause.
Endometrial cancer treatment
When a tumor is caught in time, an effective treatment is surgery, in which all of the ovaries are removed. In other cases, chemotherapy or radiation, consisting of drugs or high levels of directional radiation used to destroy cancer cells, are effective alternatives.
According to the American Cancer Society, the goal of hormone therapy in treating endometrial cancer is to lower estrogen levels in the body to reduce the likelihood of future cancer recurrence, or to slow the spread of cancer cells that exist until they can be effectively treated with other treatments.
Hormone therapy medications
According to the ACS, the main drugs used in hormone therapy are progestagens. These medications reduce circulating levels of estrogen in the body, slowing the development of cancer cells. Another commonly used drug is tamoxifen, which is often used to fight breast cancer, although it can also work to prevent estrogen from stimulating cancer cell growth. A third alternative prescription is drugs called gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists, which cause the ovaries to produce less estrogen. Side effects of these medications include menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, weight gain, vaginal dryness, and possibly decreased bone density.
Methods of hormonal therapy
In addition to prescribing medications to change the hormonal balance of the body, other, more radical measures may be necessary. According to the ACS, additional options for fighting endometrial cancer with hormone therapy include either surgical removal of the ovaries or radiotherapy aimed at incapacitating the ovaries by removing the body’s main source of estrogen production. p>
New classes of drugs are constantly being studied for their potential usefulness in hormone therapy for endometrial cancer. According to the ACS, a class of drugs with potential is called aromatase inhibitors. These drugs act to prevent the conversion of other substances to estrogens, which further reduces the natural level of estrogen in the body. Side effects include muscle pain and hot flashes.