Hormonal therapies

Some cancers depend on hormones to grow. Find out about different hormonal therapies and how they work.

What are hormones?

Hormones are substances produced naturally in the body. They act as chemical messengers and influence the growth and activity of cells.

Hormones are produced by a number of different organs and glands, which together are known as the endocrine system.

What is hormonal therapy?

Hormonal therapies work by altering the production or activity of particular hormones in the body. They are most commonly used to treat breast cancer and prostate cancer. The type of hormone therapy given depends on the type of cancer being treated.

There are several different types of hormonal therapy. They are usually given as either tablets or injections. The side effects will vary and depend on the individual drug.

General side effects can include tiredness, headaches, feeling sick and muscle or joint aches.

For more detailed information about a particular treatment, you can use our list of treatments to find it.

Information about coronavirus

We understand that people are worried about coronavirus (COVID-19). You may have questions about the different vaccines, or you may be worried about how the pandemic will affect your cancer treatment. We have detailed information about coronavirus and cancer treatment here.

Talk to an expert

We know cancer throws a lot your way, and right now, the coronavirus pandemic is making it even tougher. If you're worried about something, and you need to talk to someone, whatever is on your mind, we're here to listen.

To speak to our experts, you can:

Find out more about the Macmillan teams that are here to support you.