Hormone receptor-positive breast cancer

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What does hormone-receptor positive mean? 

Having a hormone-receptor positive cancer means that the cancer cells have extra receptors on them which can attach to the hormones oestrogen or progesterone. These hormones can help the cancer to grow. Read more about hormones and breast cancer.

Is it common for cancers to be hormone-receptor positive? 

Yes. About 3 in every 4 breast cancers are oestrogen receptor positive (ER+).

How are hormone-receptor positive cancers treated?

  • Surgery. Surgery to remove the tumour is usually the first treatment for breast cancer, if it is possible. 

Treatment after surgery

You may have more treatment after surgery to try to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back. For example:

  • Radiotherapy. Radiotherapy can help to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back. 
  • Chemotherapy. If your cancer cells are high grade (fast growing) or were found in the lymph nodes, or if your tumour was very large you might have chemotherapy to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back. 
  • Hormone therapy. If your cancer has hormone receptors that help the cancer to grow (oestrogen-receptor positive cancer), you may have hormone therapy drugs. These can work well to stop the hormones from helping the cancer to grow.
  • Targeted therapies. If your cancer has a high number of HER2 protein receptors, you might have targeted therapies (for example, trastuzumab).

For more information

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