About 12.4% of US women will develop breast cancer during their lifetime. In 2018 there were 266,120 cases of invasive and 63,960 cases of non-invasive breast cancer. Over the previous decades of research, experts have suggested that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is significantly responsible for the increased success in fighting breast cancer in menopausal and post-menopausal women. Breast cancer is the second most common form of cancer in American women.
What is hormone therapy for breast cancer?
Although people tend to believe that cancer always requires chemotherapy, the situation after diagnosis could be different for many. Once the oncologist has made a confirmed diagnosis about the location, type, and nature of the cancer cells, he or she can recommend a number of treatment options, one of which may or may not be chemotherapy.
One of the most non-invasive forms of therapy for various hormone-dependent breast cancers is hormone therapy. Since some types of breast cancers depend on hormonal signals for growth and proliferation, drugs such as anastrozole inhibit the body’s production of estrogen. It is a known treatment for breast cancer where cells with estrogen receptors (ER+) are present.
How and when does anastrozole work?
Arimidex is a common cancer treatment for postmenopausal women with primary breast cancer ER+. Anastrozole blocks the enzyme aromatase, which is necessary for the synthesis of estrogen. It is a brand name drug that also treats metastatic ER+ breast cancer. There are two things you should be aware of with Arimidex therapy:
- It only works on cancers that have the ER+ trait, and it has no effect on cancer cells that only test positive for progesterone receptors (PR+).
- For cancers that test PR+ and ER+, the oncologist might recommend a cocktail of drugs to tackle cancer.
Arimidex plays a decisive role in adjuvant treatment. Women receive anastrozole after their surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. It is effective in the treatment of recurrent breast cancer in cases of local and regional recurrence. Sometimes oncologists rely on anastrozole treatment when women in menopause test positive for secondary breast cancer.
When should you speak with your oncologist about Arimidex?
In most cases, the specialist prescribes other drugs, including goserelin, for the treatment of breast cancer in premenopausal women. Anastrozole cannot prevent the cancer cells from multiplying by themselves when the ovaries are still synthesizing estrogen. It needs help from other inhibitors like goserelin. If there is any doubt about whether menopause has been reached, you should talk to your oncologist immediately before he or she prescribes Arimidex. Several meaningful blood tests can determine the levels of the female hormone in the blood, and this helps to determine the most comprehensive treatment method available.
How long does Arimidex treatment go on?
In primary breast cancer, people are given anastrozole as oral medication for five years. In most cases, doctors replace the drug with tamoxifen after five years. However, it is possible to receive tamoxifen early, within two years of taking Arimidex, which will reduce the total time of hormone therapy to five years. The course of hormone therapy usually depends on the type of cancer a person has.