Hormonal therapies for secondary bone cancer

You may be offered hormonal therapies to treat bone secondaries from breast or prostate cancer.

Hormones help to control how cells grow and what they do in the body. However, some 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
  • preventing hormones from being used by the cancer cells.

Hormonal therapies can slow down or stop the growth of the cancer cells in the bone. They can shrink the cancer and reduce, or get rid of, symptoms such as bone pain.

Different types of hormonal therapy work in slightly different ways. You may have two different types at the same time. They are given as tablets or injections.

Side effects of hormonal therapy

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 can be more difficult to cope with. It’s important to discuss the possible side effects with your doctor before you start treatment.

We have more information on commonly used hormonal drugs. We have information about controlling menopausal symptoms in women and hormonal symptoms in men, with more details about reducing hot flushes and sweats.

Back to Treating

Treatment decisions

Your doctors may tell you there are different options for your treatment. Having the right information will help you make the right decision for you.


Radiotherapy is the use of high-energy rays, usually x-rays and similar rays (such as electrons) to treat cancer.


Chemotherapy uses drugs to treat many different types of cancer. It is most commonly given as an injection into a vein or as tablets or capsules.


Surgery involves removing all or part of the cancer with an operation. It is an important treatment for many cancers.

Other treatments

Other treatments can be used as part of the main cancer treatment and to treat side-effects.

Clinical trials

Many people are offered a trial as part of treatment. Find out more to help you decide if a trial is right for you.

Planning ahead

There are ways you can plan ahead and make choices about your future care.