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By Hospals Team Blog Published on - 18 April - 2022

Understanding The Difference Between HRT and Hormone Therapy- Which One Do You Need

Overview

If you have been recently diagnosed with cancer, whether it’s an endometrial, breast cancer, or prostate cancer, as a part of your treatment strategy, your medical team may offer hormone therapy. You've probably got a lot of questions regarding this form of treatment, its benefits, and its drawbacks. Here we have discussed the same with the eminent oncologist in India. However, we often tend to get confused between HRT and hormone therapy. Keep reading to get some idea about the same.

Understanding the concept- what is hormone therapy used for?

Hormones are required for the growth of certain malignancies. In some circumstances, hormone therapy may delay or stop their spread by inhibiting the body's ability to manufacture these specific hormones or altering the behavior of hormone receptors in the body.

Hormone treatment is most routinely used to treat breast and prostate cancers. Most breast tumors include either estrogen (ER) or progesterone (PR) receptors, or both, indicating that these hormones are required for growth and dissemination. Prostate cancer, on the other hand, requires testosterone and other male sex hormones, such as dihydrotestosterone (DHT), to grow and spread. Hormone therapy may help make these hormones less available to cancer cells as they proliferate.

What are the types of hormone therapy recommended for cancer? Do HRT and hormone therapy the same?

If you and your doctor is considering hormone therapy as a treatment option for cancer, then you should ask about the types and forms of hormone therapy that you can avail of. Ask about the pros and cons of such options to make an informed decision.

However, before that, it’s important to understand that hormonal therapy for breast cancer or any other cancer treatment is not the same as hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for menopausal symptoms.

Breast cancer is not treated with HRT. Some women use HRT to manage problematic menopausal side effects like hot flashes and mood swings. HRT is used to increase estrogen levels, which fall after menopause. HRT comprises estrogen as well as progesterone and maybe other hormones. Hormonal therapy for breast cancer does the exact opposite — it inhibits or reduces estrogen levels in the body.

Find out more if you’re interested to know the difference between the two.

The two most common hormones used in HRT are:

  • Estrogen
  • Progesterone

Estradiol, estrone, and estriol are all examples of estrogens.

Progestogen - a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone or micronized progesterone I.E that is chemically equivalent to the natural or body hormone.

HRT( Hormone replacement therapy) entails taking both of these hormones (combined HRT) or only estrogen (oestrogen-only HRT).

Other than the above-mentioned types, the form of taking hormones can vary.

  • Pills or tablets- Tablets are one of the most used kinds of HRT. They are typically taken once per day.

Tablets are available for both estrogen-only and combination HRT. For some women, this may be the most convenient way to receive therapy.

  • Gel form-Gel is a handy way to take HRT that does not increase the risk of blood clots. It can be applied once daily over your skin and gets absorbed easily.
  • Skin patches- HRT is also commonly administered via skin patches. You apply them to your skin and change them out every few days.

There are estrogen-only and combination HRT patches available.

If taking a tablet every day is inconvenient for you, you may choose skin patches over tablets.



  • Testosterone- Testosterone, is available as a gel form that is applied to the skin. It is not officially approved for usage in women, although a specialized doctor may prescribe it after menopause if they believe it may help restore your sexual drive.

It is indicated for women with libido i.e not improved by HRT. And for patients suffering from prostate cancer, testosterone hormone replacement is advisable.

  • Implants- HRT is also available in the form of little pellet-like implants that are put under your skin (often in the belly area) after your skin has been numbed with local anesthesia.

The implant gradually releases estrogen and lasts several months before needing to be replaced.

However, this option is mostly used for the treatment of menopause symptoms rather than treating cancer. However, if you still have your womb(uterus) in a healthy state, you shouldn’t consider having HRT as a treatment option. As this can increase the risk of developing uterine cancer by a fewfold.

When is hormone therapy recommended for cancer?

Hormonal therapy can be used alone or in conjunction with other treatments. It can be used prior to surgery to shrink the tumor and make it easier to remove, or it can be used prior to radiation therapy to shrink the tumor so that radiation can be delivered to a smaller area. Hormonal therapy may be used in conjunction with other treatments such as surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy to reduce the likelihood of cancer recurrence.




Advantages of hormone therapy for cancer treatment:

Hormonal therapy can also be used to minimize the risk of breast cancer in women who have not yet been diagnosed. Women who have a substantially higher than usual risk of developing hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer may take a hormonal therapy drug as a prophylactic measure.

This can be used alone or as an adjuvant with other treatment options for cancer.

Why should you consider getting cancer treatment in India?

India is the most favored place for cancer treatment operations for a few major reasons. And if you are searching for the best cancer hospital in India, we will help you to find the same.

  • India's cutting-edge techniques,
  • medical skills, and
  • Cancer treatment costs in India are among the best in the world, as our patients need affordable and quality outcomes.

All these have significantly increased the success rate of cancer treatment in India.

Conclusion-By simply packing their medical journey to India, cancer treatment can substantially benefit the patient. We also offer a comprehensive range of counseling for coping with emotional changes to our international patients.

How can we help in the treatment?

If you are in search of a cancer treatment hospital in India, we will serve as your guide throughout your treatment and will be physically present with you even before your treatment begins. The following will be provided to you:

  • Opinions of expert physicians and surgeons
  • Transparent communication
  • Coordinated care
  • Prior appointment with specialists
  • Assistance in hospital formalities
  • 24*7 availability
  • Arrangement for travel
  • Assistance for accommodation and healthy recovery
  • Assistance in emergencies

We are dedicated to offering the highest quality health care to our patients. We have a team of highly qualified and devoted health professionals that will be by your side from the beginning of your journey.