NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Breast Cancer – Locally Advanced (STAGE III)
What to expect
Endocrine therapies greatly differ by how they are
received and what’s required of you. Ovarian ablation
consists of either one day of surgery or a few days
of radiation therapy. Other endocrine therapies are
medicines. Antiestrogens and aromatase inhibitors
are pills that are taken every day. LHRH inhibitors
are given as monthly injections under the skin.
Your treatment team will give you more information
to know what to expect. Questions to ask about
treatment are listed in Part 9.
Not all women will have the same side effects from
endocrine therapy. Your symptoms may differ from
other women or those listed next.
For many women, endocrine therapy causes
symptoms of menopause. Menopausal symptoms
include hot flashes, vaginal discharge or dryness,
sleep problems, weight gain, hair thinning, fatigue,
bone loss, and changes in mood.
Tamoxifen also has two rare but more serious side
effects: 1) cancer of the uterus; and 2) blood clots.
For most women, the benefits of taking tamoxifen far
outweigh the risks. Aromatase inhibitors don’t have
the same cancer risk and very rarely cause blood
Not all the side effects of endocrine therapy are listed
here. Please ask your treatment team for a list of all
common and rare side effects. If a side effect bothers
you, tell your treatment team. There may be ways to
help you feel better.
Endocrine therapy is a standard treatment for
hormone receptor–positive breast cancer. It
lowers the chances of the cancer returning.
There are 4 main types of endocrine therapy
for stage III breast cancer. Antiestrogens block
the action of estrogen. Aromatase inhibitors,
ovarian ablation, and ovarian suppression lower
the amount of hormones in the body.
Options for endocrine therapy are based on
menopausal status. Medicines are often taken
for 5 to 10 years.
Endocrine therapy may cause symptoms of
What to expect