The latest treatments

Here's what you can do to treat breast cancer

Hormone therapy

What it is:

Your pathology report after lumpectomy or mastectomy may say your cancer is Estrogen Positive, meaning that estrogen may have helped your cancer cells grow. To help prevent that from happening in the future, you will be prescribed a drug that either blocks the estrogen from attaching to cells or suppresses estrogen in the body.

How hormone therapy is administered:

  • Daily pills for five years.

Possible temporary side-effects:

  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Hot flashes
  • Headaches
  • Vaginal dryness or discharge

Some side-effects, such as nausea and fatigue, last a few weeks while you get used to the drugs. Others, such as vaginal dryness, may last until you stop using a particular drug.

Special considerations:

Talk to your doctor about whether the benefits of the treatment outweigh the possibility of more serious side-effects from some of the drugs used.

How you can cope:

Because you may experience all or some of the side effects, talk to your doctor about ways to treat them. For example, you can avoid hot drinks, wine and spicy foods that may trigger hot flashes. You can ask for a prescription cream for vaginal dryness.

Routine follow-up :

  • After treatment there is wide variation with respect to follow-up appointments where you’ll have a physical examination and blood tests. Talk to your doctor about your schedule.
  • Once a year you’ll have a mammogram.

Get Chatelaine in your inbox!

Our very best stories, recipes, style and shopping tips, horoscopes and special offers. Delivered a couple of times a week.