Thursday, May 25, 2017 20:12

Treatment of Cancer by Hormones

Posted by on Tuesday, September 15, 2009, 18:26
This news item was posted in Cancer category and has 0 Comments so far.

The use of hormones in the treatment of cancer is an example of orthomolecular medicine, which is the treatment defined as the preservation of good health and the treatment of disease by varying the concentrations in the human body of substances that are normally present in the body and are required for health.

Hormones are substances that are secreted by cells in one part of the body, are transported by the body fluids to another part , and there produce a specific effect on the activity of cells remote from those that liberated them. Thus hormones are normal constituents of the human body, which may be described as chemicals messenger, they function in the control of metabolic processes.

Some of the hormones used as anticancer agents, such as cortisone, hydrocortisone, ACTH, testosterone, and progesterone, are true hormones, and hence can be classed as orthomolecular substances. Others, however, are not true hormones, but are related substances that have hormonal activity or that interfere with the action of hormones, and hence are drugs rather than orthomolecular substances. Some examples are prednisone, prednisolone, fluoxymesterone, diethylstilbestrol and ethinyl estradiol.

The female breast is a typical target organ under hormonal control. During the earlier part of the menstrual cycle a build up of the female hormone induces the glandular cells of the breast to proliferate, but if pregnancy does not occur a different combination of hormones at the time of menstruation allows these proliferative changes to regress to be ready for the next cycle. The clock for all this regular activity in the pituitary gland. If pregnancy does occur the proliferative changes continue, and at the time of birth of the infant yet another hormonal combination induces lactation. This information, at least in its rough outline, has been known for very many years.

I have attempted to summarize the current status of hormonal treatment of cancer. The situation is far from perfect. Many types of tumor are apparently totally unresponsive to hormonal manipulations, and even in cancers arising in organs under clear hormonal control only a proportion of the patients can expect to benefit.

However, the total group contains two of the most common cancers of all, cancer of the breast and cancer of the prostate, so that the total benefit of hormonal treatment of cancer to making is enormous.

Moreover, benefit is usually obtained without unpleasant side effects. Thus, by the hormonal treatment of cancer we can achieve in many patients the goal of extending life in dignity and comfort. No doubt research will steadily extend the range and scope of this therapeutic approach in coming years.

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