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Hormone therapy is a cancer treatment that removes hormones or blocks their action and stops cancer cells from growing. Hormones are substances produced by glands in the body and circulated in the bloodstream. The presence of some hormones can cause certain cancers to grow. If tests show that the cancer cells have places where hormones can attach (called receptors), drugs, surgery, or radiation therapy is used to reduce the production of hormones or block them from working.
Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells. There are two types of radiation therapy. External radiation therapy uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the cancer. Internal radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters that are placed directly into or near the cancer. The way the radiation therapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.
Male breast cancer treatment given after an operation, when cancer cells can no longer be seen, is called adjuvant therapy. Even if the doctor removes all the cancer that can be seen at the time of the operation, the patient may be given radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and/or hormone therapy after surgery to try to kill any cancer cells that may be left. The recommended treatment will depend, in part, on whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.
For men whose cancer is node-negative (the cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes), adjuvant therapy should be considered on the same basis as for a woman with breast cancer, because there is no evidence that response to therapy is different for men and women.