Hormone therapy may prove effective in treating a serious and potentially life-threatening illness known as sarcoma. Hormones can impact sarcoma, but hormone therapy may be used to help treat malignant cancer cells.
Sarcoma is a form of cancer. Malignant cancer cells impact bones, soft tissues, ligaments, tendons, cartilage and even blood vessels that connects muscles and bones to other structures such as skin. This illness can occur anywhere in the body. Researchers opine that this kind of cancer is fairly rare and impacts roughly 14,000 individuals per year in the United States. Moreover, there are more than 50 different types of sarcoma.
For the most part, scientists have been unable to exactly pinpoint one specific cause. That said, these same medical professionals opine certain factors might increase one’s chances of developing some form of the disease. These factors include genetic flaws, infection with herpesvirus-8 or having undergone radiation for another form of cancer or a different health malady. Researchers also suggest that the disease could be precipitated by exposure to certain toxic chemicals and environmental toxins.
In many instances, a stricken individual experiences no physical manifestations until the disease has progressed. When early symptoms do occur and are noticeable, an afflicted person might experience a painful lump in a bodily region in which the cancer has developed. Other manifestations might include inflammation and mobility difficulties. Additionally, sarcomas that occur in specific bodily tracts may cause problems in that particular area. For example, should sarcoma develop in the gastrointestinal system, a patient might experience digestive symptoms.
Because sarcomas often occur in deep-rooted systemic tissues, diagnosis is often confirmed only after testing with diagnostic equipment like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), X-rays, computed tomography (CT scans), positron emission tomography (PET scans) and ultrasounds.
Potential Treatment Options
Treatment protocols will depend upon the specific type of sarcoma the patient is diagnosed with, the malignancy’s exact location in the body, the patient’s age, general health, the cancer’s stage and the level of aggressiveness. That said, common remedial options typically include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. However, other therapeutic treatments have been employed in recent times. These efforts include gene therapy, immunotherapy, and hormonal therapy.
The Relationship Between Hormones And Sarcoma
Certain forms of sarcoma require specific hormones to grow and spread. Uterine cancer (the uterus is a vital female reproductive organ), for example, needs estrogen and progesterone in order to manifest. Should the cancer be deprived of either of these substances, the progression of the malignancy could be slowed.
Hormone Therapy As An Effective Treatment For Sarcoma
Starving sarcoma of nourishing chemicals like estrogen and progesterone is the basis of hormonal therapy. This approach has proven somewhat effective for women stricken with certain differentiations of uterine cancer.
Patients are considered good candidates for such treatment if surgery or other techniques are not advised or not well tolerated or if the cancer has spread or returned after a previous bout.
- Specific Drugs – Hormonal therapy drugs are comprised of substances that either lower existing concentrations of sarcoma-boosting hormones or suppress bodily production and secretion of these substances.
- Administration – Typically, hormonal therapy is administered through pills or injections. Most patients prefer these methods because they can be easily completed at home.
- Side Effects – Hormonal suppression may precipitate side effects. These reactions are often similar to menopausal symptoms and might include sweating, hot flashes, diminished libido (sex drive), weight gain, bone weakness and vaginal discomfort.