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Hormonal therapies| are often used to treat secondary bone cancers where the primary cancer is in the breast| or prostate| gland.
Hormones are substances that occur naturally in the body. They control the activity and growth of normal cells. However, certain hormones can also affect the growth of breast cancer or prostate cancer cells.
Hormonal therapies work by lowering the levels of particular hormones in the body, or by preventing hormones from being taken up by the cancer cells. This can slow down or stop the growth of the cancer cells in the bone. Hormonal therapies can shrink the cancer and reduce, or get rid of, symptoms such as bone pain.
There are many different types of hormonal therapy and they work in slightly different ways. Sometimes two different types of hormonal therapy may be given together. Hormonal therapy is given as tablets or injections.
Hormonal therapy can cause side effects for some people, including hot flushes and sweats in both men and women. Although the effects can be mild for many people, for others they may be severe. It’s important to discuss the possible side effects with your doctor before you start treatment.
We have information on all the commonly used hormonal drugs|. We also have sections on controlling menopausal symptoms in women| and hormonal symptoms in men|, which have information about reducing hot flushes and sweats.
Content last reviewed: 1 December 2012
Next planned review: 2014
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© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
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