Hormonal therapy, like chemotherapy, is a systematic treatment. However, it does not kill cells. Rather it blocks hormone production for people with prostate or breast tumors that feed on hormones.
For example, Lupron, which treats the symptoms of prostate cancer, inhibits testosterone production in men.
Women with estrogen and progesterone positive breast tumors may take anti-hormonal drugs that inhibit the hormone production and stop breast cancer cell growth. Hormonal therapies also can be used to turn off production of hormones from the ovaries. Tamoxifen was the first hormonal breast cancer therapy more than 25 years ago. It also has been used in chemoprevention clinical trials to prevent cancer from developing in at-risk women. Newer hormonal therapies are available, some of which may lead to the development of osteoporosis. Bone density scans are important to identify and treat osteoporosis before it causes major bone damage.