Hormone, Biological and Complementary Therapy

Hormone therapy

Hormone therapy is used to treat breast cancer that is hormone sensitive (where the presence of estrogen and/or progesterone receptors are found (Canadian Cancer Society)). These hormone treatments work by lowering the level of estrogen in the body or by blocking the action of estrogen on breast cancer cells.

Preparing for your hormone treatment

What to expect

  • Hormone therapy is a pill that is taken daily.
  • Length of treatment will depend on your particular situation.
  • Side effects may arise from hormone therapy.

Questions for your medical oncologist

  • What are the benefits and risks of hormone therapy?
  • What type of hormone therapy am I getting?
  • What are some of the side effects and how are they managed?
  • Will the treatment affect my daily activities?
  • For how long will I be on the medication?

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Please contact your medical oncologist, family physician or patient navigator if you have any questions or concerns.

Biological therapy

Biological therapy targets work with your immune system to target cancer cells, unlike traditional chemotherapy, which kills dividing cells (whether normal or cancerous). Biological therapy takes place in the Baruch/Weisz Cancer Centre at the General site. Before your first biological therapy session, you will be asked to attend a new patient orientation in the Nanji Academic Centre (ground floor). This orientation will prepare you for treatment, introduce you to your health care team and give you an opportunity to ask questions.

Preparing for your biological therapy treatment

What to expect

  • You will receive education on your first visit to the oncology clinic from the oncology pharmacist/nurse. A folder containing useful information will be given to you at the new patient orientation session.
    You will need to have blood drawn in the outpatient lab on the 4th floor, the day before you begin hormone therapy.
  • You will need to register at the chemotherapy clinic when you arrive for your treatment.
  • Please arrive 15 minutes before your appointment time.
  • The length of your visit will vary depending on the treatment you will be receiving.

What you need to bring

  • Your health card
  • Food/beverages
  • Books or other entertainment while you wait or are receiving treatment

Questions for your medical oncologist

  • How will my treatment help me?
  • What are the benefits and risks involved with the specific treatment I am receiving?
  • What are the some of the side effects I may experience and when would they typically begin? How are they managed?
  • How will the treatment affect my daily activities or work schedule?
  • Are there any special instructions I should follow before, during, and after each biological treatment?

Please contact the chemotherapy clinic if you have any questions or concerns regarding biological therapy.

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Complementary therapy

Complementary or alternative therapy includes all therapy, or products that are not part of conventional cancer care. Complementary therapies may include herbs, vitamins and other supplements, acupuncture, massage therapy, meditation, yoga and others.

What to think about when considering complementary therapy

  • Is there good evidence and research to support the complementary therapy you are considering?
  • Are there side effects and risks associated with the complementary therapy you are considering?
  • Will there be any interactions between the complementary therapy and your conventional cancer treatment?

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