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NCCN Guidelines for Patients


Breast Cancer - Early-Stage


, Version 1.2016

Many women with hormone receptor–

positive breast cancer receive

endocrine therapy. Part 6 explains

who needs endocrine therapy and

which types. It also provides some

details on what to expect during

endocrine therapy.

Estrogen and progesterone are hormones that cause

some breast cancer cells to grow. Endocrine therapy

stops the growth of cancer cells that is caused by

hormones. It either lowers the amount or stops the

effect of hormones in the body.

Endocrine therapy can be used to lower the chances

of the cancer returning after surgery. It only works

for women with hormone receptor–positive breast

cancer. The chances of the cancer returning differ

among women. Doctors predict the return of cancer

based on features of the cancer and research results.

If you will receive chemotherapy, endocrine therapy

should be started after chemotherapy is finished.

It is okay to take HER2 inhibitors during endocrine

therapy. Endocrine therapy can be started during

or after radiation therapy. If you are pregnant, start

endocrine therapy, if needed, after your baby is born.


Endocrine therapy

68 Treatment options

70 What to expect

72 Regimens

74 Review