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Hormone Therapy and Biotherapy/Targeted Therapy

Medical oncologists at Miami Valley Hospital (MVH) have experience treating cancers with hormone therapy and biotherapy/targeted therapy.

Hormone Therapy

Some cancers need hormones to grow. Hormone therapy keeps cancer cells from getting or using the hormones they need. It is systemic therapy.

Hormone therapy uses drugs or surgery:

  • Drugs - Your doctor gives medicine that stops the production of certain hormones or prevents the hormones from working
  • Surgery - Your surgeon removes organs that make hormones.

The side effects of hormone therapy depend on the type of therapy. They include:

  • Weight gain
  • Hot flashes
  • Nausea
  • Changes in fertility

In women, hormone therapy may make menstrual periods stop or become irregular and may cause vaginal dryness. In men, hormone therapy may cause impotence, loss of sexual desire and breast growth or tenderness.

Biotherapy/Targeted Therapy

Biotherapy is another type of systemic (whole body) therapy. It helps the immune system fight cancer.

Researchers have developed new drugs that target cancer cells more specifically than traditional chemotherapy. Treatment boosts the ability of your immune system to fight cancer, infections and other diseases. Side effects may include rash, heart damage, or high blood pressure.

Many biotherapies are given through a vein and others are taken by injection or by mouth. The biotherapy travels through the bloodstream. Some people may get a rash or have flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, weakness, and nausea. Biotherapy also can cause more serious side effects, such as changes in blood pressure and breathing problems. Biotherapy is usually given at the doctor’s office, clinic or hospital.

Targeted cancer therapies are drugs or other substances that block the growth and spread of cancer by interfering with specific molecules involved in tumor growth and progression. These therapies attack the cancer cells' inner workings, or programming, that makes them different from normal, healthy cells.

Targeted therapies are a major focus of cancer research today. Some of the cancers that may be treated with targeted therapy include certain types of lung, pancreatic, head and neck, liver, colorectal, breast, and kidney cancers.

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