Jumat, 03 Februari 2012

Hormone Therapy for Breast Cancer

Breasts contain cells which respond to natural hormones, notably estrogens and progesterone. These cells contain hormone receptors to which these hormones can bind. Some breast cancer cells contain similar receptors, which means that they respond to and grow more quickly in the presence of hormones.

There are two main types of breast cancer: estrogen-receptor-positive (the cancer cells contain estrogen), and estrogen-receptor-negative (no estrogen in the cancer cells). About 60% of breast cancers in pre-menopausal women are hormone-receptor-positive, and about 80% of breast cancers in post-menopausal women are hormone-positive.

The initial biopsy results provide information on the presence or absence of estrogen and/or progesterone sensitive cells, determining what type of breast cancer the patient has. Most women with breast cancer will require surgery. The type of breast cancer, and the stage it is at, will determine the type of treatment, including follow up care.

Estrogen receptor and progesterone receptor positive tumors tend to respond well to chemotherapy, which is usually the treatment of choice for stage III and IV breast cancers.

What is Letrozole?

Breast cancer recurs after surgical treatment in about one of three women with hormone receptor-positive early stage breast cancer. If the cancer was being fueled by the hormones estrogen and/or progesterone, then hormone blockers can help prevent breast cancer recurrence following surgery.

Hormone-sensitive cancer is slightly slower growing, and responds to hormone suppression drugs that block the body's production of estrogen. Cancer that is not hormone-sensitive requires a different kind of follow up treatment.

Letrozole, marketed as Femara, is an aromatase inhibitor prescribed to decrease the chance of a recurrence of hormone-receptor-positive early stage breast cancer by stopping the production of estrogen. It is intended only for post-menopausal women, and is prescribed as a once daily tablet following surgery.

Other commonly prescribed aromatase inhibitors are anastrolzole (brand name Arimidex), and exemestane (brand name Aromasin).

Side Effects of Letrozole

The more troubling side effects of letrozole include a loss of bone density and an increase in cholesterol. Bone density and cholesterol levels may need to be monitored in some patients.

Many patients do not experience any serious side effects when taking Femara for cancer, but some have reported hot flashes, joint and muscle pain, hair loss, fatigue, sweating, nausea, diarrhea and trouble sleeping.

Femara VS Tamoxifen

Tamoxifen was the "gold standard" in the treatment of breast cancer for postmenopausal women for nearly 30 years. In 1998, a worldwide clinical trial began involving more than 8,000 postmenopausal female breast cancer survivors. Among other things, the study compared the effects of letrozole 2.5 mg tablets vs tamoxifen in postmenopausal women with hormone-receptor-positive early stage breast cancer.

Normally, breast cancer patients continue to take cancer medication for five years following surgery. At a six-year follow-up, Femara was shown to have reduced the reoccurrence of breast cancer by 15% more than tamoxifen. Femara also reduced cancer from spreading to other parts of the body 15% better than the older cancer drug.

As a result of improvements in screening and treatment, breast cancer survival rates have been climbing for years. The highest survival rates for women with stage 1 cancer are in the age group of 50 to 69. The highest survival rates for women with stages 2, 3 and 4 cancer is in the age group of 40 to 49. Overall, survival rates come close to 90%.

2 komentar:

Hope this killer cancer can be prevented as early as possible by most women so that no one will suffer more and the mortality rate will be lessen.

Yeah. Prevention is always better than cure. There maybe a lot of therapy websites to look for the best treatment but the disease itself is a traitor. You maybe cancer free for a couple of years, but without early diagnosis, cancer could recur anytime.

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