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Hormone Therapy for Breast Cancer

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Side Effects of Aromatase Inhibitors

One serious side effect of aromatase inhibitors is osteoporosis, which can lead to bone fractures. Bone density tests are used to check for osteoporosis.

Other side effects include hot flashes, muscle and joint pain, memory problems, and a higher risk of heart disease.

Ovarian Ablation for Breast Cancer

Some women with breast cancer may benefit from ovarian ablation, if they have not yet gone through menopause and their cancer is ER-positive. Ovarian ablation stops the ovaries from making estrogen. This can be done by:

  • Aiming radiation at the ovaries
  • Surgically removing the ovaries
  • Giving the woman a drug called luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonist

Ovarian ablation can also be done in combination with hormone therapy. Studies have shown that giving women an LHRH agonist alone or with tamoxifen has been at least as effective as the chemotherapy combination used in hormone-sensitive, early breast cancer and in metastatic breast cancer in premenopausal women.

Before you begin breast cancer treatment, print out Questions to Ask at your first appointment.

Recognizing a Breast Cancer Emergency

Call your doctor if you have:

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on May 07, 2015
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