Patient & Visitor InformationContact Us
  • Contact Us

    For more information, to make an appointment or to refer a patient, please call

    Treatment Locations

    Rhode Island Hospital

    APC Building

    Providence, RI 02903

    . . . . . .

    The Miriam Hospital

    164 Summit Avenue

    Providence, RI 02906

    . . . . . .

    Newport Hospital

    11 Friendship Street

    Newport, RI 02840

    . . . . . .

    East Greenwich Lifespan Ambulatory Care Center

    1454 South County Trail
    2nd Floor

    East Greenwich, RI 02818

  • Hormone Therapy

  • Hormone therapy is most often associated with menopause. However, hormone therapy can also be used to treat breast cancer.

    What is it?

    Estrogen increases the growth of certain types of breast cancer cells. Hormone therapy works by administering medicines (usually in pill form) that block estrogen before it can reach cancer cells. In order for this treatment to work, the cancer has to be sensitive to hormones. To determine this, the breast tissue is tested to see if it is estrogen-receptor positive or estrogen-receptor negative. If positive, the cancer is likely to respond to hormone therapy.

    When is it used?

    For women who test estrogen-receptor positive, hormone therapy is used to reduce the chances of recurrence or to control and shrink cancer that has metastasized. Hormone therapy can be used to treat breast cancer in three ways:

    • To block hormones from attaching to estrogen receptor on cancer cells.

    • To stop the body from producing estrogen after menopause.

    • To stop hormone production completely in the ovaries, through medications or surgery.

    How long is a course of treatment?

    The typical length of treatment for hormone therapy is five years. During this time, it's important for you to have yearly pelvic exams and let your doctor know if you experience and unusual bleeding or pain.

    Are there side effects?

    Yes, there are side effects associated with hormone therapy, many of which are also common with menopause. Side effects vary by specific medication and person, and can include:

    • Hot flashes

    • Vaginal dryness/discharge

    • Fluid retention/swelling

    • Nausea

    • Joint/bone pain/stiffness

    • Decreased energy

    • Headache