Want to know more about breast cancer? Dr Nick Plowman, Clinical Oncologist at St Bartholomew's Hospital in London answers some common questions about the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of breast cancer. Use the video clip menu below to select a question.
- Tell me more about hormone therapy (NOW PLAYING)
- Give me an overview of breast cancer in the UK
- How is breast cancer diagnosed?
- What treatment is there?
- Tell me more about breast surgery
- Tell me more about chemotherapy
- Tell me more about radiotherapy
Video transcript: Tell me more about hormone therapy
Some breast cancers are hormone sensitive and the oestrogen receptor test that is performed by the histologist (the man who is cutting the specimen of the breast cancer in the laboratory) will tell us whether this is so.
In such cases, drugs such as Tamoxifen, Anastrazol, Letrozole and others may add to chemotherapy or indeed substitute for chemotherapy in the adjuvant setting to reduce the chance of the breast cancer returning.
Similarly, there is a new group of drugs, molecularly targeted drugs such as Traztuzumab better known as Herceptin, also Lapatinib and Pertuzumab, which are coming on screen which hit the Her II receptor, an oncogene product that is expressed by one in five patients with breast cancer. Use of these drugs will add to the power of chemotherapy in reducing the chance of breast cancer returning.
Of course, in patients whose disease has spread further afield than the breast or the breast and regional nodes in the armpit, these drugs, the chemotherapy, the molecularly targeted agents, the hormonal therapy are much more important than surgery and radiotherapy because they get at the problem wherever it is. They are what we call Systemic therapies.