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56

NCCN Guidelines for Patients

®

:

Breast Cancer – Locally Advanced (STAGE III)

Version 1.2017

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

clots.

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.

Review

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†

Endocrine therapy is a standard treatment for

hormone receptor–positive breast cancer. It

lowers the chances of the cancer returning.

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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.

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†

Options for endocrine therapy are based on

menopausal status. Medicines are often taken

for 5 to 10 years.

†

†

Endocrine therapy may cause symptoms of

menopause.

6

Endocrine therapy

What to expect

|

Review