Hormones help to control how cells grow and what they do in the body. The hormones oestrogen and progesterone can encourage some breast cancers to grow, particularly oestrogen.
Hormonal therapies reduce the amount of oestrogen in the body or stop it attaching to the cancer cells. They only work for women with oestrogen-receptor positive cancers.
You may have hormonal therapy to reduce the risk of breast cancer coming back and to protect your other breast. You usually start taking it after surgery or chemotherapy. You take hormonal therapy for a number of years. Sometimes doctors prescribe it before surgery to shrink a large cancer.
The type of hormonal therapy you have depends on:
- whether you have been through the menopause or not
- the risk of the cancer coming back
- how the side effects are likely to affect you.
We have more information about individual hormonal therapy drugs.